Simon Baylor is a teacher of ICT at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School. As part of the preparations for delivering the Digital T Level from September 2020, Simon completed an Industry Insight placement at EDF Energy. The placements are part of the T Level Professional Development support offer providing opportunities for professional updating for teachers that is industry relevant and that facilitates knowledge transfer and professional exchange.
What were your key objectives for going on a staff placement in industry?
During my placement my key objectives were to compare my current level of knowledge and skills in the different areas of the Digital T Level to identify areas of improvement, in order to successfully deliver the qualification from the start of the next academic year. I was also keen to understand more about industry placements so that I will be able to better prepare learners for them, in terms of successfully integrating into the workplace during their placements.
Tell us about your experience and the highlights from the placement
After making contact with Craig (the individual I would be shadowing at EDF), we established the parameters of my visit. These parameters were based on reviewing the T Level Digital content booklet and identifying areas I felt I wanted to develop either for my knowledge or skills base. From this Craig was very accommodating and built my visit around this information.
One of the most interesting aspects of the placement was observing how much of the work in the area that I conducted my placement was outsourced to external companies. This enabled me, to not only see the working practices of EDF but to understand how the workers from the outsourced companies needed to adapt to the environment and working practices of EDF whilst they were a part of the EDF family. A key aspect with regards to this was the numerous rules and regulations that were in place and that needed to be followed, as EDF is not only an energy company but also classed as a nuclear company as well.
What did you value the most about engaging with EDF Energy?
It was really interesting to observe how some aspects of the work place have not changed that much at all; however, the hardware used within the company is a lot more advanced than what I am currently used to.
What has been the impact on you, your colleagues and your organisation?
I found my experience to be very enjoyable as I was able to develop new skills and knowledge that I will be able to pass on to my colleagues when developing the Digital T Level schemes of work. I will also be able to use the new knowledge I have developed in certain areas to ensure that the students that I will be teaching will be best prepared, developing the knowledge and skills for the workplace. I have also benefitted from being reminded about the challenges that exist in the workplace and I have developed more up to date skills with regards to the use of technology. This has made me more confident in my classroom teaching. I now feel better prepared to deliver the T Level curriculum.
How will this positively impact on future T Level learners?
I have learned that we will need to implement more activities within the classroom that explore the required skill development, so that students have the chance to practice them in a classroom environment, where they can experiment and receive developmental feedback. This is likely to take the form of scenarios and role-play to develop negotiation skills and confidence in dialogue when facing professional challenges.
We will also use the resources developed through the Teacher Regional Improvement Project (TRIP) to provide students with learning experiences that will build their confidence in the use technology, as well as developing their digital literacy skills. This will also help prepare students for their industry placements.