Developing your recruitment pipeline with work placements  

T-levels - the next level qualification

T-levels - the next level qualification - Credit: South Devon College

T-levels are a new, two-year qualification for 16-to-19 year olds.

 Designed with employers, each T-level is equivalent to three A-levels and helps young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace. 

The successful roll out of the new T-level is central to the Government’s renewed focus on developing skills, getting people into paid positions, and improving the UK’s productivity.

Here at South Devon College we are excited to be a Wave Two T-levels provider and are now accepting applications for courses starting in September 2021 in a diverse range of sectors including teaching assistants, digital media, computing, electrical  installation, carpentry, plumbing, health and science.

At the heart of each course is a 45-day industry placement, allowing students to develop practical vocational skills relevant to their profession.

For students completing their GCSEs, the opportunity to gain industry experience makes these new qualifications an exciting option as employability is an increasingly important consideration in choosing post -16  study options.

The success of this new qualification lies in participation from local employers keen to play host to work placements.

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There are plenty of benefits in offering a work placement, including developing a recruitment pipeline for your business.

Once their qualification is complete, these students could be your future workforce, whether they come straight into a job role, or go on to study a higher apprenticeship at your organisation.

Either way, you will be bringing new ideas and a new perspective, with access to young people from a diverse range of backgrounds needed to innovate successfully to meet changing customer needs.   

Government guidelines lay out some ‘core principles’ that apply to all industry placements. 

It is important that industry placements are high-quality, delivered consistently and offer students a meaningful experience. 

The college will help you to select the right student, and make sure that you’re compliant before helping you to decide how and when you’ll deliver the placement.

We will help you to decide whether to pay the student - you are not obliged to do this, as it’s part of the students’ training, but you may want to consider paying national minimum wage, and agree objectives for the work placement to help you to manage progress.

You’ll  then need to assign someone to line manage the student and keep the college updated with progress reports, providing an opportunity for your existing staff to gain valuable coaching and mentoring experience.

At the end of the placement, you will be required to provide a reference and you will have the option to make an offer of employment, commencing when the students studies are complete.

The T-level will be important in involving employers with younger students and addressing skills gaps at entry level.

If you think hosting a T-level could benefit your business and you would like to be involved, visit www.southdevon.ac.uk/employers to get started.