From education to employment

Barnsley College attends House of Lords T Level celebration

To mark the first T Level students finishing their courses, Barnsley College representatives attended a landmark event at the House of Lords alongside fellow education providers and parliamentarians, including the current Minister for the School System and Student Finance, Baroness Barran MBE.

T Levels (Technical qualifications) are qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds, taken after GCSEs. They are broadly equivalent to three A Levels and focus on technical and vocational skills. They can help students into skilled employment, higher study, or apprenticeships and were designed in collaboration with leading employers to provide the skills that businesses across the region need.

Attending on behalf of the College were Barnsley College’s Assistant Principal of Young People, Neil Johnson, and former T Level student, John Lack, who studied Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning last year. John is now a student at the University of Lincoln after securing an unconditional offer to study Architectural Science and Technology.

John delivered a speech at the event addressing the room of education providers and parliamentarians and said:

“I have enjoyed studying at Barnsley College, as I have been given both the freedom to become the person I am today and the opportunity to learn from highly-skilled staff who have been so helpful.

“I have been at the University of Lincoln since September; the varied skills and knowledge I learnt from my T Level are already being put into practice and I’m sure will continue to be. I feel I have an advantage over A Level or BTEC students, as I have the foundation of practical skills and knowledge from which to build on and develop further in a degree.

“I feel lucky to have studied a T Level qualification. Although it has been a challenge at times, it has been hugely rewarding.”

Following his speech, John was congratulated by Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Minister of State for Prisons, Parole and Probation, and former Secretary of State for Education.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education Baroness Barran MBE, added:

“This is a milestone moment as we celebrate the first ever T Level students completing their courses this year and I am delighted to host some of these pioneering students and providers at the House of Lords – I know these will be the first of many.

“T Levels provide rigorous qualifications with industry placements and we have seen a huge increase in the number of providers delivering these incredible courses. I want to thank them for their hard work and for delivering the skills employers want.”

Neil Johnson, Assistant Principal of Young People at Barnsley College, added:

“We were delighted to attend the celebratory event at the House of Lords. All of our T Level students have worked really hard over the past two years, and we are thrilled to be one of the first providers in the country to deliver this world-class qualification.

“Furthermore, having one of our students being invited to and speaking at this event was reflective of their progress and development, and is an experience that they’ll be able to treasure forever.

“We are incredibly proud of what our first T Level students have achieved and look forward to seeing what they go on to do in the future – as they have already secured opportunities in either the world of work, university, or an apprenticeship.”

Barnsley College became one of the very first providers to offer the brand-new qualification in 2020 offering courses in Digital, Construction and Childcare.

The subject areas now on offer at Barnsley College reflect some of the top business growth areas such as digital skills, health and social care, engineering and manufacturing and business and administration. T Levels are unique as they combine classroom study with industry placements so young people gain valuable work experience in their chosen sector.

Many local businesses including KMF Training, Rolley Ltd., Masonite, Barnsley Council and Whitshaw Builders are embracing T Levels in partnership with Barnsley College as a great way to bring in new ideas and the latest skills, and a new way to find, nurture and secure young talent.

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