A SOMERSET college has celebrated its first cohort of T Level students completing the new courses designed in collaboration with employers.

Strode College, Street, become one of the first providers in the country to offer T Levels in 2020.

T Levels are qualifications for students aged 16 to 19 that are broadly equivalent to three A Levels.

They can help students into skilled employment, higher education, or apprenticeships. 

T Level students spent 20 per cent of their time at an industry placement, where they put skills they learn in the classroom into action. 

Strode College offers T Level courses in nine areas including business, management and administration; digital data management, childcare and education, health, and science.

The qualifications are designed in collaboration with employers to provide businesses with the skills they need.

Somerset County Gazette: Education and childcare T Level student Rebecca Bailey. Picture: Strode CollegeEducation and childcare T Level student Rebecca Bailey. Picture: Strode College

Local businesses such as Owen Barry Ltd (Street) and Somerton Computing are supporting the college by offering its students work experience.

Freddie Lane, who studied a T Level in digital production, design and development, completed his work placement at Somerton Computing.

He is now planning to study games technology at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.

Read more: Taunton pioneer T Level student 'really enjoying' undertaking new qualification

Freddie said: “I loved the industry placement most about the course. It was such fun and has been extremely impactful on my development, teaching me about the industry I am interested in whilst still being manageable alongside my college work and personal life.

“I also preferred the classroom dynamic in my course to any other courses I’ve studied, as the relationship between teacher and student is a lot different to school, with teachers focusing on helping students develop in the fields they want to, allowing students to grow in their field of interest.

David Williams of Somerton Computing said: “Freddie worked with Somerton Computing on an industry placement for four months. His role included diagnosing, repairing and testing computers and laptops that come into the workshop.

“Freddie showed a great aptitude for his job and was constantly developing. He was able to fix the vast majority of repairs on his own in a timely and efficient manner. Freddie is confident, polite and a great asset to the team.”

Somerset County Gazette: Jake Stuckey, a digital, design & development T Level student. Picture: Strode CollegeJake Stuckey, a digital, design & development T Level student. Picture: Strode College

Olivia Penny, who lives in Bath and studied a T Level in education and childcare, is progressing to Norland College to learn about early years development.

She said: “I particularly enjoyed the support I received from my teachers. 

“They really do go beyond to make sure you are achieving your full potential with your work and help shape you into being the best version of yourself. 

“The extra support given here at college is the best and everyone is so friendly.  The facilities are good, which is so important when doing the T Level as it is more practical.”

The Government's National Careers Service website's ‘Get the Jump’ content hub lists the education and training options available to young people, including information on T Levels.