A variety of staff who will be involved in implementing and teaching T Levels have been undertaking a diverse range of Industry Insight staff placements, which provide industry-relevant professional updating to enable knowledge transfer and professional exchange. The placements are part of the T Level Professional Development offer created by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and aim to provide an immersive experience including knowledge and skill updating, practice development as well as observation and professional discussion with colleagues throughout the host company. This allows teachers to gain a better understanding of the roles, skills required, and technology being used in day to day operations, as well as the importance of the development of transferable skills and behaviours expected of students on industry placements as part of their T Level course.
The Industry Insight offer has been very much in demand with no shortage of teachers wishing to prioritise updating their industry knowledge to improve the quality of their teaching, more effectively support their colleagues and ensure learners experience high-quality learning experiences. In many cases, staff attending placements had either not worked in industry or not for a number of years, having transitioned into Further Education from other occupations or straight from education themselves.
The placements have therefore been invaluable not only to gain industry experience, but also to observe the challenges faced and working practices, as well as learning about specific practices in the relevant specialist areas, to include labour market intelligence and career opportunities for their students, the employees of the future.
Industry Insight participants have said how beneficial it has been to discuss the T Level outline content with placement hosts in order to build a relevant and fit for purpose curriculum so that learners have high quality learning experiences, that are genuinely preparing them for the world of work.
As well as this, the placements help build local partnerships focused on the strategic priorities of their communities and ultimately stimulate and sustain a knowledge-based economy delivering better jobs, higher productivity and economic growth, as demonstrated by recent collaboration between Exeter College, Exeter Science Park and Heart of the South West LEP.
The opportunity has also been taken to develop partnerships for students’ own industry placements and build networks keen to support the delivery of T Levels.
Practical takeaways from placements in primary schools and nurseries for colleagues involved in the Education and Childcare T Level route have included observing the different assessment methods and resources being used to create a stimulating and safe learning environment and how staff had built a supportive and collaborative learning environment. Colleagues also gained an increased awareness of assistive technologies and approaches to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Those concerned with the Digital T Level route have had the opportunity to experience practical application of project management tools such as Agile and Scrum methodologies and see the vital integration of IT employees throughout the host companies, resulting in the planning of more practical, engaging and accessible classroom content, providing that essential clear line of sight to work.
Benefits of the placements for those engaged in the Construction T Level route have included gaining first-hand experience of state-of-the-art equipment, techniques and learning about current sustainable methods and approaches used in industry, having the opportunity to network, collaborate and make contacts with industry professionals, and learning the skills and behaviours required in specific workplace settings in order to appropriately prepare students.
Detailed case studies from Industry Insight placements are available on the ETF website. For details of the broader ETF T Level Professional Development offer, visit the TLPD area of the website and sign up to receive the ETF’s TLPD bulletin.