Yeovil College is the only College in the South West to pilot the industry placement element of the new Government announced Technical Education courses (T levels) and they’re going from strength to strength.

The College currently has 82 Level 3 students out on industry placement, rising to over 200 next year, across a whole range of business sectors, including Motor Vehicle, Business Administration, Construction, Hairdressing and Beauty and Hospitality, to name but a few.

In the Post-16 Skills Plan (2016), the Government laid out a series of radical reforms to the Technical Education system. One of the key proposals is that every 16 – 19 year old learner undertaking a T level will be entitled to a high quality, substantial work placement. A work placement will be a mandatory part of attaining the T level. Should a student fail to complete the work experience part of the T- level, then the qualification will not be awarded.

Gayle Pogson, Work Placement Manager, said: “The benefits of carrying out a relevant and substantial industry placement are huge. Our learners will develop the mix of skills they require to enter their chosen industry, they will gain a real insight into what it’s like to work in their chosen field and they will receive coaching and mentoring from industry experts. Our learners are increasing their confidence, gaining the behaviours and attitudes expected of them and apply theory to a real-world environment; we’re already seeing massive shifts in learner confidence.”

John Evans, Principal of Yeovil College, said “As the only College in the South West to be involved within the pilot, we have a real responsibility to both our learners and to the community to create and implement robust systems which will allow our young people to get the most out of their work placements. It is critical that learners are given the opportunity to put their learning into practice, develop excellent skills and become more employable. “

There are a total of 21 providers piloting a variety of different industry placement models across the country, with Yeovil College representing the South West. In total 93 students will experience a industry placement during the 2017/18 academic year. The aim of the pilot is to understand what good work placements look like ready for implementation from 2020/21.

John Evans continued: “By positioning ourselves within this select group of providers we are ensuring that we are leading the way and developing a solid platform to introduce industry placements to our curriculum programmes.”

Our learners undertake a period of work experience which will have relevance to their course to enable them to gain some ‘real world’ experience. Work placements, as part of T levels will become an integral part of the new Government reforms. Students will develop the range of knowledge, skills and behaviours required to enter skilled employment within their chosen field of study. Students will complete a minimum of 45 days work placement with a minimum of 7 hours a day undertaken as a block placement, day release or a mix of both.

Jessica Chaffey, aged 17, studying Business and Enterprise Level 2 at Yeovil College, joined the Yeovil College Marketing Department to undertake her work experience. Jessica said: “From the start of my time with the marketing team I felt welcomed. I was always brought into conversations which allowed me to feel like I was part of the team and my input and opinion were always taken into consideration.

Over the two weeks of working with the team I learnt a lot about how marketing works and how the team works together. After learning this I was able to feel more connected to everyone in the team and this made me feel like I’ve been working with them for years. I have never felt more welcomed by a group of people and I fully regret ever thinking that working with marketing will be stressful. I learnt so much by just working with them and I feel that these two weeks have made me into a more confident person.”