Alfie Earlam, Digital marketing apprentice, Quibble Content

#StudentVoice - #TLevel experience so far, with a few tips to help you guys out with post 16 options

I’m a student, currently working as hard as possible to open up as many further education and career options for myself as possible. At this age, it is key to have the mindset of keeping my choices open for my future. 

I have always been asked, and I’m sure you have too, “why work in a job you don’t enjoy?”

You’re going to be stuck in this job for a very long time so make sure you focus on something you genuinely enjoy and don’t get pressured into anything. 

The T-Level scheme is such a good way to get an understanding of an industry before you commit to it. The basics of the scheme are essentially 315 hours of work experience which you must complete per year to get the final qualification. Once you have completed these hours you and your employer may be able to come to an agreement to have you carry on working there part-time whilst you study at college. It is so flexible, which is brilliant!

I’m currently studying at college Monday to Wednesday then attend my work placement Thursday and Friday. I love it! It keeps me occupied all week and there is never a time during the working week where I’m not doing anything productive - this is so motivating for me.

My placement relates to my college course - level three extended diploma in business, which means I am able to put what I have learned in the classroom into place at my placement whilst also learning about the industry in-depth in my job too.

This is giving me so much knowledge which is of much more benefit to me than working behind a bar or in a shop for a bit of pocket money.

This is why I really enjoy doing T-Levels, work feels like it is benefitting me for the future without it feeling like a chore. 

What would I change?

To be honest with you, there is not a lot I would change about the scheme. I feel like there is a really good balance of hours work in terms of college and placement.

Looking at preparation for the scheme I feel like students need to be notified and educated about the scheme a lot more in advance than I was. 

I am currently one of the few students who are trialling the scheme, but it will be properly introduced in Autumn 2020. 

Here’s a couple of tips to help you along the way:

  • Speak to your college about ‘T-Levels’.
  • Provide your work experience team with a range of organisations you would like to work in to give them a rough idea of what you want to do.
  • Be realistic, don’t go for working alongside the CEO of Tesco, they won’t want to work with you! No offence! They will have more things to worry about than a college student looking for a bit of experience.
  • Do this well in advance to give a potential employer time to complete their recruitment process i.e. reading CV/ cover letters and conducting interviews.
  • Finally, communication is key! Constantly stay in contact with your college to stay updated about everything going on regarding your work placement!

How are T-Levels perceived by Employers?

T-Level coordinator at New College Stamford, Julie Girling, said: “On the whole businesses are extremely supportive and see the benefits”.

This goes to show that businesses are willing to support younger students who want to learn. They want you to contribute to the business and maybe even be their next recruit if you’re good enough. 

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Talking about the future, employers will see that you have worked in the relevant industry and see you have experience. This is really good for you as it shows that you have made an effort within your educational years to get as much experience as possible.

I’m sure you agree that someone with T-Level experience in the industry will be more employable than someone with no experience in the same industry. 

Employers look for experience! So why don’t you get some by doing T-Levels alongside your college course?

How are T-Levels perceived by Universities?

When applying for university, you have to write a personal statement, being able to show tutors that you have already been working in the industry that you want to study will really impress them. It will set you apart from other candidates who have been working behind a bar or in a shop. You are showing that you are making an effort to benefit yourself for the future and universities love that sort of thing! 

On the whole, doing T-Levels will benefit all students no matter what they want to do in the future. Employers will find it fascinating that you have been working in the industry at a young age and universities will be impressed with the effort you have made to work in this particular industry and will help you beat competition for places. 

The benefits of T-Levels

 

Here’s what Julie Girling, T-Level coordinator from New College Stamford has to say regarding the benefits of T-Levels:

For students who are looking to go into further education benefits include:

  • Opportunity to ‘try’ the industry before committing to years at Uni
  • It looks impressive on personal statement
  • It helps you make connections for future employment

For students who are looking for a job at the end of the placement:

  • Improves potential for employment
  • Real experience in the industry to put on your CV
  • Provides a reference for a future employer

As a level three student my aim is to get into the best place I can at the end of my course. By doing T-Levels I won’t have to make up my mind on what I want to do after college so soon. This helps me stay relaxed and gives me a good amount of time to really think about my future before I commit to anything.

These years of your life are some of the most important as they are going to shape what you are going to do in the future, so you must be wise and think it through properly.

Alfie Earlam, Digital Marketing Student, Quibble Content

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