From education to employment

How T Levels Can Foster Talent and Bridge Skills Gaps

Lisa and Toby

Thursday 8 February marks T Level Thursday during National Apprenticeship Week. To recognise this day, Lisa McBeath facilities manager, Corporate Services, Sodexo UK & Ireland and Toby Milligan, a T Level placement student with Sodexo Corporate Services share their experience from different perspectives.

Lisa McBeath, a facilities site lead in Sodexo’s Corporate Services business, explains what T Levels are, how they benefit Sodexo and students, and why they will be crucial in solving skills shortages.

Understanding T Levels

T Levels are about more than just classroom learning; they involve nurturing college students in their first workplace environment. This means dedicating one day a week to encourage and advise T Level students, watching them grow in confidence and ability as they become integral parts of our team. From mentoring them to think outside the box to assisting them in aligning with Sodexo’s values, T Level placements are a hands-on journey of growth and development.

Motivation behind providing T Level placements

The decision to offer T Level placements stemmed from a desire to give back to the community and showcase the exceptional team at Sodexo. Welcoming students like Toby, who is our T Level student at our site, into our industry of facilities management not only provides them with a steppingstone but also enriches our team with fresh perspectives and talent. It was also discussed with our client, who really wanted to provide a step up for a student, emphasising our commitment to creating opportunities for student advancement.

How are T Levels different from apprenticeships

While both T Levels and apprenticeships are valuable, T Level placements offer a unique advantage for Sodexo. By providing students with part-time opportunities, we can effectively utilise resources while still offering valuable learning experiences. This flexibility aligns with our needs and allows us to support students on their educational journey.

Why choose Sodexo for T Level placements?

Sodexo’s diverse range of industries and roles make it an ideal choice for T Level students. Through our placements, students have the chance to explore various career paths and gain hands-on experience in a large organisation. For many 16-year-old students unsure of their career direction, a placement with Sodexo can be eye-opening, revealing opportunities they may not have considered otherwise.

Encouraging participation across the business

Extending T Level placements across different parts of the business is not just about giving back; it’s an investment in our future workforce. By nurturing talent and providing opportunities for growth, we not only enrich the students’ experiences but also benefit from their fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. It’s been a privilege to watch students like Toby grow in experience and confidence, knowing that we’ve played a role in shaping their future careers.

In conclusion, T Level placements at Sodexo are not just about filling a need; they’re about fostering talent, bridging skills gaps, and creating opportunities for the next generation of workers. As we continue to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, I’m proud to be a part of an organisation that values education, community, and the power of mentorship.

Toby Milligan, a T Level student in Sodexo’s Corporate Services business, shares his journey and the benefits of pursuing a T Level qualification and how he has embraced the opportunity and his placement experience with Sodexo.

Motivation behind pursuing a T Level qualification

I was motivated to pursue a T Level qualification over a BTech due to its hands-on and practical approach. While BTech courses are often coursework heavy, T Level offered me the opportunity to learn through practical experience, which aligns better with my learning style.

The structure of my T Level placement

The structure of my T Level placement involved completing 16 core elements in the first year, covering standards, materials, and legal aspects, while also developing skills through workshop activities. The second year focused on independent project work, including building prototypes based on project briefs, from design to installation, while considering costs. My industry placement was invaluable in exposing me to the workplace environment, providing both work experience and essential life skills.

Memorable experiences from my placement

One memorable experience was receiving coaching from a site technician, on how to dismantle a pump. Through this experience, I learned how to plan and execute tasks methodically, which has since been applied to other tasks, enhancing my problem-solving skills.

Preparing for entering the workforce

My T Level qualification has prepared me for the demands of the workforce by teaching me the importance of time and understanding the reasoning behind tasks. Unlike classroom settings where tasks are completed and moved on from, the workplace demands continuous productivity and adaptability, skills I’ve honed through my T Level experience.

Support mechanisms

At college, I have a dedicated coordinator who assists with placements and provides guidance. Additionally, interacting with fellow students has been beneficial for sharing experiences and learning from each other. During my placement, I’ve had the support of a mentor and the entire team on site. Sodexo’s learning and development platform has also provided additional resources and courses to support my learning journey.

In conclusion, pursuing a T Level qualification with Sodexo has not only equipped me with practical skills but also provided invaluable industry experience and support. As I look forward to contributing to the workforce, I am grateful for the opportunities and guidance provided through my T Level journey with Sodexo.

Related Articles