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Activate Learning students are first cohort to start new T Level industry placements at Huawei

reading college huawei

Five students from Reading College will be the first cohort to start their T Level industry placements with Huawei this month. 

The students will join the Huawei UK’s office in Reading, after being selected to gain practical workplace experience at the world-leading technology company.

Szymon Strzebicki is one of the chosen five. Szymon was seven or eight when he first started tinkering with old laptops. It was something he and his dad would do together, taking broken laptops apart and fixing them. “That’s what got me into technology,” he says, “so the fact that I’m now studying for a T Level qualification and doing a placement at Huawei is amazing.”

Available to school leavers after GCSEs, T Levels are new technical qualifications where students spend 80% in the classroom learning the skills that employers need, and 20% in an industry placement where they put these skills into practice. One T Level qualification is equivalent to three A Levels. 

The Digital Production, Design and Development placements for the Reading College students have been designed by Activate Learning in in partnership with Huawei, with the aim of preparing young people for the workplace. 

The students will start their placements within the IT Support Team at Huawei’s Reading Office, before rotating across different departments during their two-year course.

For student Hayden Kimber, the placement is a first step towards his ultimate goal of working in cyber security. He’s looking forward to gaining practical experience like helping set up new devices, troubleshooting as well as hopefully working within the cyber security team. He says he is fascinated by personal device security and testing passwords. “Security is getting better and better, but there’s always a loophole and I love finding and fixing it.”

Hayden says the alternative route of T Levels compared to A Levels really suits him. “I can’t wait to be out of the classroom and in a work environment, gaining experience and getting qualifications to go into the sector I want to be in.”  

T Levels were first launched in September 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be the first year that T Level industry placements will be fully up and running without restrictions. 

Nancy Buckley, Group Director, Business Development at Activate Learning, added:

“As the first UK college to secure T Level industry placements with Huawei, we are excited about the potential opportunities these qualifications will deliver for students. 

“Our role is to develop skills within the local community to support the local economy, and we believe that through our partnership with Huawei we can help young people build the skillset that allows them to contribute to Reading’s thriving hub of digital and technology companies.” 

Pallavi Malhotra, Director of Huawei ICT Academy, said:

“We’re thrilled to partner with Activate Learning to offer digital T Level placements at our Reading office and are looking forward to these young people becoming part of the team. 

“T Levels provide brilliant opportunities for developing much-needed digital skills to help address the urgent skills gap, and we are pleased to be playing our role in giving these students their first introduction to the workplace, equipping them with the technical and practical experience they need to succeed in their career of choice.”

Ahead of their placements, the students were not feeling daunted about being the youngest and most inexperienced in the office. Szymon Strzebicki added, “I can’t wait. I’m so happy about being surrounded by people with more experience than me and learning from others in this field. 

“This role will prepare me for the future and having Huawei on my CV will really make it stand out. My dad is really proud of me.”

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