Blackpool and The Fylde College marks success of ‘game-changing’ T Levels students
Blackpool and The Fylde College has hailed the success of its T Levels programme after all students moved on to employment or higher education.
The college, based in one of the UK’s most deprived areas, is also celebrating the impact of T Levels students on employers who have supported the programme by offering work placements.
One employer said their T Levels placement student had been ‘game-changing’ for the business.
The college, which is one of the UK’s largest providers of T Levels and offers the broadest range of subjects locally, has found T Levels have been highly effective at creating the next generation of skilled employees for industry.
The overall pass rate for T Level students who studied at the college was 94 per cent – 3.5 per cent above the national average. 60 per cent achieved a Merit or above (equivalent to three B grades at A Level) and there was a 100 per cent pass rate for T Level courses in education, childcare, health and science. Ten students received a Distinction for their studies, the highest grade possible.
All students have gone on to other opportunities, with 53 per cent progressing to higher education – half of which will start at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
More than a quarter of those completing T Level courses are planning to go onto further education or an apprenticeship, while 21 per cent have secured employment.
Alun Francis OBE, newly-appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “As this is now the UK’s second set of T Level results, understanding of the opportunities they provide is gradually improving, but there is still more to do to communicate the scope of their potential. Organisations need highly skilled people to drive growth and success. Young people seek engaging and relevant education, and vibrant career opportunities. T Levels deliver success for everybody involved. Designed by employers, they are transforming education and will positively impact the wider economy.”
Francis, who alongside his role at the college is also Interim Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, sees further education colleges as having a key role in making a strong contribution to the region’s ‘levelling up’ challenge.
“It’s no secret that Blackpool has previously been identified as the most deprived local authority area in the UK. T Levels offer a bright future ahead for our young people as education has the ability to lift people out of poverty and make a significant difference to the economic, social and health outcomes of our wider community.”
Francis, who begins his new role with Blackpool and The Fylde College this academic year added: “These results are amazing and demonstrate the hard work and commitment of the college’s students, professional tutors and employer-partners. Working together enables us to maximise the positive impact of the programme for all involved and we are incredibly proud of what this year’s students achieved. Collectively we are demonstrating that T Levels can be, and in our case certainly are, highly effective at creating the next generation of skilled employees for industry.”
Students graduating this year from the T Level programme at Blackpool and The Fylde College have studied subjects as diverse as science, education and childcare, and digital technologies. All have been awarded fully-funded degree apprenticeship roles, gained employment, secured places at a range of universities or are studying for a higher level technical qualification.
Among the students achieving results this year is Luke Hardwick who had secured a degree apprenticeship in software engineering with Preston-based aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems before his computing T Level course had even finished.
Achieving a Merit grade T Level, Hardwick said: “The course content was more industry-based than others and very much about what you’d do in real-life scenarios, which was what I wanted.
“The best part was the work placement, as well as the mix of coursework and exams, which really suited me. The college staff were fantastic, despite not having much government guidance around T Levels while they’re still quite new. I’d definitely recommend the T Level above traditional qualifications.”
With links with over 1,800 local employers, the college plays an active role in helping students to secure work placements.
During the second year of Hardwick’s T Level course, he spent two days a week on a work-based placement with Coastal Radio in Blackpool.
Ged Mills, content director at Coastal Radio, who supervised Hardwick, said he had been a fantastic addition to the team. Mills said: “Luke’s knowledge and coding skill proved a real game changer for our business.
“It was the first time we’d worked with a T Level student and we’d absolutely do it again. Having a student onsite means we can offer them real experience and give them projects to undertake and complete.”
Teaching student Jessica Holroyd-Swarbrick has secured a place at university thanks to her T Level course.
The 19-year-old from Blackpool achieved a Distinction grade and will go on to study teaching and learning support level four to become a qualified teacher, thanks to her experience on the T Level course.
Jessica chose the T Level route because of the hands-on experience it offered alongside classroom learning. She first did a one-year transition programme to gain the necessary grades in maths before beginning the two-year course.
Alongside her learning at the college, she spent two days a week on placement at St Wulstan’s and St Edmund’s Catholic Academy in Fleetwood.
She said: “I started off doing tasks like filing, photocopying and classroom displays and then moved on to work with the children in small groups.
“The course made me want to be a teacher more because I enjoyed being on placement and I could see the difference I was making. It really boosted my confidence having that classroom experience early on.”
She praised the support of the college, which has offered guidance throughout the two years whenever needed.
Jessica added: “I’d absolutely recommend a T Level because it gives you an insight into what it actually is to be a teacher.
“I’m going to university now and a lot of the other students won’t have had the placement experience I have.”
Hardwick also looks forward to his next step, starting his degree apprenticeship in September adding: “Aeroplanes are my passion, so this is a dream job, and I think the real-world experience I had from the T Level compared to other students set me apart.”