Engaging with the ETF's TLPD offer: Truro and Penwith College

In this blog, Julian Roberts, Head of Employability, Industry Placements and Transition at Truro and Penwith College, describes how the college has engaged with many elements of the ETF’s T Level Professional Development (TLPD) offer and gives us his top tips for delivering T Levels.

Truro and Penwith College’s T Level journey with the ETF started in 2019. Since then, we have dedicated a concerted effort to actively participate in the development of seven T Level routes. Our involvement with the ETF enabled us to undertake two T Level Resource Improvement Projects (TRIPs): ‘Assessing Industry Placements’ and ‘Assessing the impact of major educational reforms (T Levels on the mental health and wellbeing of staff in Further Education)’. Taking part in TRIPs and collaborating with other providers allowed Truro and Penwith to have an integral role in sharing good practice and resolving common issues.

This year, we have benefited from regular one-to-ones, team meetings, and presentations with our ETF Area Relationship and Development Lead (ARDL), Rosemarie D’Ambrosio-Winter, at both SMT and practitioner level. As a T Level team, we completed our Organisational Training Needs Analysis, which feeds into our T Level Implementation Plan, and all staff involved in T Level delivery have been encouraged to undertake an Individual Training Needs Analysis which allowed both staff and managers to pinpoint training requirements. This was important as it enabled us to provide specific CPD opportunities that were tailored to individuals’ needs. As a direct result of these assessments, our staff undertook specific training in preparation for the Digital and Construction routes we are currently delivering. Staff have all agreed that developing their subject knowledge in these areas has helped them to provide their students with confident teaching, specific information, and a more thorough understanding of the topic.

Through working closely with our ARDL we were introduced to Marion Patterson, one of the ETF’s Employer Engagement Co-ordinators, and have applied for Industry Insights and put forward ideas for Industry Workshops. We are also partnering in another TRIP lead by Gloucestershire College (‘Placement Videos in Construction’) where we are looking to create a suite of video resources to aid the induction of learners into their placements.

Additionally, staff continue to take part in national and regional networking events, which gives us the opportunity to speak to other providers in forums to share common experiences. Networking with others in a similar position to us has been invaluable to share best practice and collaboratively address issues that we have each faced.

Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a profound effect on the way we deliver teaching and learning, but our strong communication links and consistent utilisation of ETF resources has enabled us to continue our effective delivery of T Levels. Our top tips for successful T Level delivery are:

  1. Take a whole organisation approach to delivering T Levels.
  2. Attend as many courses as possible
  3. Link with other providers
  4. Use ETF resources
  5. Build strong links with employers and the community
  6. Explore all the funding opportunities available

As an organisation, we remain committed to the new technical study programmes and can see the real benefit for our learners of gaining Industry Placements with local companies.

Related blog post: Engaging with the ETF’s TLPD offer: South Devon College

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