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College principal warns youngsters could miss out when new T-levels rolled out

PUBLISHED: 17:06 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 13 August 2019

Barking and Dagenham College principal, Yvonne Kelly. Picture: Barking and Dagenham College

Barking and Dagenham College principal, Yvonne Kelly. Picture: Barking and Dagenham College

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A college principal has warned a lack of awareness about new technical qualifications could see youngsters miss opportunities.

Jack Pittaway, 20, from Romford, at work on an industry placement. Picture: Barking and Dagenham CollegeJack Pittaway, 20, from Romford, at work on an industry placement. Picture: Barking and Dagenham College

Yvonne Kelly, principal of Barking and Dagenham College, fears young people will miss out on studying T-levels, because of a lack of awareness and understanding of what the courses offer.

Yvonne said: "Studying for the new T-levels will mean students spend time both in the classroom and also, importantly, gain technical and practical skills through an industry placement, up to and above 45 days."

The college's CEO voiced her concern ahead of GCSE results day, on August 22, when many young people will be thinking about what to do next.

Many go on to study A-levels but T-levels are also an option for 16 to 18-year olds and equivalent to three A-levels.

Like A-Levels, T-levels are two-year courses, but they have been developed with the participation of employers and businesses.

Yvonne said: "T-levels are going to offer students the best of both worlds and, crucially, students will finish their studies, be work ready and able to progress into an apprenticeships at level three or above.

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"They will provide a great opportunity to earn and learn all the way to a degree apprenticeship. That's an important attribute for prospective employees in the 21st century."

Barking and Dagenham College has taken part in government trials of the new qualification, running T-levels in construction and digital pathways in 2021.

The government hopes the new qualification will become one of the main choices for students following GCSEs.

Jack Pittaway, from Romford, took part in an industry placement working at 2-4c, an architectural services company in Brentwood.

The 20-year-old gained experience using computer aided design (CAD) programmes and saw what an architect's role involves.

He produced landscape plans, elevations and section details, assisted architects on site visits and observed how architects use CAD programmes.

Jack said: "Being able to get a taste of other CAD programmes will help my future learning experiences in architecture.

"Experiencing a more formal work environment will be especially useful in getting used to future workplaces."

Jack now plans to study architecture at university. Visit the college's website for more information about T-levels.

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