As parents of teenagers at secondary school, you may have heard about the introduction of the new T-level qualifications from 2020? At Newbury College, we have been busily preparing the groundwork for T levels for quite a while, and are ready to start incorporating them as they are phased in.
Alongside apprenticeships and A-levels, T-levels will become one of the three main options for school leavers. T-levels are being introduced in the 2020/2021 academic year, and are designed to replace many of the vocational qualifications currently offered at level 3.
The structure of the new qualifications will be different from the current system. The number of hours a student will study increases significantly from the average 540 hours offered now to approximately 1,800 hours over the two years (including the work placement). The work placement element increases to 45 days, but can last up to 60 working days, making it much more meaningful to the student and employer. The timing of the work placement may be different depending on the qualification, some may opt for a continuous block, and others will distribute the work placement across the programme.
In a new two-year, level 3 technical study programme, T-levels will offer students:
• Specific practical skills and knowledge in a chosen industry or occupation
• 45 days’ work placement at a relevant employer
• Core English, Maths and digital skills
After completing a T-level programme, students will have transferrable skills to use in the workplace, they may also continue their education at university or through an apprenticeship with an employer.
Are you waiting for exam results in August? Not sure what to do next? Have you considered applying for an apprenticeship?
According to UCAS, applications for university places in 2017 are down by 5%*. That means more and more young people are deciding to look for alternative routes into their chosen careers. In 2015/16 just over half a million people started an apprenticeship programme – an increase of 9,500 on the previous year**.
Here are five reasons why apprenticeships are fast becoming a popular choice for school leavers:
1. Get qualified – Alongside work experience, you’ll continue to study towards a nationally-recognised qualification. Apprenticeships can be studied at three different levels; intermediate, advanced and higher. You can now even study right up to a degree qualification (level 6).
2. Earn money – an apprenticeship is a real job that will earn you a wage!
3. Relevant work experience – you’ll receive practical training and experience in a real-world working environment.
4. Available in a great range of subjects – apprenticeships are available in a wide range of subjects including accountancy, business administration, health care, hairdressing, IT, professional cookery, engineering, vehicle maintenance and more.
5. Support and guidance – all apprentices receive support and guidance from an assessor. The assessor will meet regularly with the apprentice and employer to discuss progress.
Don’t wait for results day to apply for an apprenticeship.
If you want to work in business administration, customer service, HR or IT, or if your dream job is to be a chef, nursery nurse or engineer, apply for an apprenticeship now. Newbury College is currently advertising vacancies in all these areas. Don’t wait until results day, get ahead of the game click here or call the apprenticeship team on 01635 845229.
*UCAS – applications for UK higher education down 5% for UK students, Feb 17 **Apprenticeship Statistics: England, 21/11/16
Newbury College recognised its apprentices and their supporters at an award ceremony held at the College last night. The event, organised during National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), celebrated the achievements, hard work and commitment of both individual apprentices and employers. Guest speaker was UKAEA’s Chief Operating Officer, David Martin, who works at Culham Science Centre in Abingdon and was himself a former apprentice at Harwell in 1979.
Now in its tenth year, NAW is designed to raise awareness of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider community. According to the GOV.UK website, apprenticeship participation increased to 899,400 in the 2015/16 academic year, up 3.2% on 2014/2015 and the highest number on record. It also states that, on average, apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by £214 per week.*
Dr Anne Murdoch, Principal and Chief Executive of Newbury College, said: “Our annual awards ceremony offers our apprentices, their employers, families and friends the opportunity to celebrate their outstanding achievements. We are grateful to everyone who gave us their support on the night. Apprenticeships are a key focus for us here at Newbury College, and we work alongside many local businesses, including AWE, Hitachi Capital, Williams and Xtrac, who all run very successful apprenticeship programmes.”
“It was a real pleasure being guest of honour at the Newbury College Awards Ceremony,” said David Martin. “As an ex-apprentice myself and working for UKAEA, an employer whose business relies heavily on highly skilled individuals, I understand the importance of apprenticeships in supplying work ready, suitably skilled and motivated technicians and engineers. UKAEA relearned the importance of apprenticeships just in time, having stopped apprentice training in 1994 and restarted in 2005, we see the decade gap in our skills base moving through the business, ‘the lost generation’ as we call it.
“I am now a director of UKAEA, not bad for an instrument maker whose performance was recorded as ‘very good’ on his apprenticeship indentures, indentures which are the only certificate of achievement I display in my office. The practical and problem solving skills that I learned during my apprenticeship served me well in my years in the workshops. After earning my degree, those skills made me an engineer who had ‘gut feel and intuition’ and in my current role as Chief Operating Officer (40 years later), I have credibility because of my technical background and understanding.
“I encourage all the apprentices with Newbury College to build on the solid platform their apprenticeship has provided and to continue to learn at any opportunity. You never know where it might take you!”
The winners on the night were:
Best apprentice in a small business – Hannah Benson, The Tally Ho
Best apprentice in a medium business – Peter Johnston, Snell Advanced Media
Best apprentice in a large business – Abigail Crawforth, Williams
Best engineering apprentice award – George Patey, Williams
Best assessor award – Yvonne Pomeroy, Newbury College
Best workplace mentor – Paula Woof, The Tally Ho
Outstanding contribution award – Isabel Edwards, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions
To help raise the profile of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the local area, Newbury College has also announced details of a new engineering degree apprenticeship. From September 2017, engineering apprentices can progress all the way from a Level 2 apprenticeship up to a Level 6 degree apprenticeship. The new programme, in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University, is offered in three different pathways: manufacturing, mechanical or electrical/electronic and is ideal for those who are deterred from studying a traditional full-time programme by high tuition fees and student debt.
During term time, Newbury College holds monthly Apprenticeship Information Sessions, where candidates can find out more about the apprenticeship vacancies on offer. For more information and to register for an event, please visit: https://www.newbury-college.ac.uk/news.html.
For organisations looking to take on an apprentice, Newbury College also holds regular Business Breakfasts designed to equip businesses with the all the information they need. To find out more or to register for an event, visit: https://www.newbury-college.ac.uk/businesses
* Figures taken from NAW2017 toolkit for schools colleges and training providers. Click here for more key facts.
The project was part funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP through Local Growth Funds
Peter Read, Chairman of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), today officially opened Newbury College’s brand new Engineering Solutions Lab. The new facility, fitted with leading technology, will enable the College’s engineering apprentices to research, design and develop components for their employers, whilst also benefitting students on full-time engineering programmes.
Part of the investment for the project came from a successful bid to Thames Valley Berkshire LEP for Local Growth Funds. The College received £333,333 from the LEP; the total cost of the facility was £1 million. The new facility will help address the needs of the local economy by raising the quality and profile of the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) provision in the area.
The Lab is comprised of two zones. The first contains electronic and electrical equipment, including CNC milling and turning machines, 3D printers and scanners and a 3D laser etching machine, to help design and develop innovative industry-approved engineering projects. The second zone is a fully functioning Computer Aided Design (CAD) area fitted out with design and drawing software packages such as AutoCAD and Inventor, and CNC software to connect to the machines in the other room.
Commenting on the new facility, Peter Read, Chairman of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, said: “I am delighted to open the new Engineering Solutions Lab at Newbury College today. Our Growth Deal set out to grow the STEM skills base in Berkshire, and this project is an excellent example of this being put into action.
“Whilst employers continue to place strong emphasis on STEM skills, the number of young people entering the workforce with these skills remains below demand. As a high proportion of businesses in the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) economy are knowledge-intensive and therefore require a continuing flow of STEM talent, it is vital that significant steps are taken to ensure the economic potential of TVB is not restricted by labour supply issues. The opening of the Engineering Solutions Lab today is a definite step in the right direction.”
Dr Anne Murdoch, Principal and Chief Executive of Newbury College, added: “We are grateful to everyone who joined us today for our opening ceremony, especially to Peter Read who performed the official unveiling. As well as providing career progression and business development opportunities to our apprentices and their employers, our new facility also gives full-time students on engineering courses the chance to develop their STEM skills and gain experience working with leading technology.
“Organisations already making use of the new facility include Blatchford, Progressive Technology, Williams F1 and Xtrac, and we encourage other local employers to also make use of the facility by getting in touch with us.”
Newbury College provides a range of further education engineering courses including Level 2 Computer Aided Design, Electrical Installation and Engineering, and Level 3 Electrical Installation and Engineering. Higher education courses include Electrical and Electronic Engineering HNC and HND Diplomas, Mechanical Engineering HNC and HND Diplomas. Click here for more information on the engineering courses available at Newbury College. For more images visit our Facebook page.
Announced in 2015, the apprenticeship levy aims to fund three million new apprentices by 2020 and the new funding system will begin in May 2017.
Newbury College will offer levy-compliant apprenticeship training and work with employers to ensure they achieve maximum results, offering help and advice to all employers – both levy and non-levy payers.
Employers with a payroll bill of more than £3 million will pay the levy. If you are a levy payer it is important that you calculate your levy spend and ensure you take full advantage of this opportunity. Newbury College can work with you to identify your skills requirements and develop a programme to suit your business needs. In many cases those companies with existing programmes will need to expand them in order to recoup their levy. Now is the right time to begin this planning to maximise the potential for your business.
Employers not paying the levy will continue to make a contribution [typically 10%] to the cost of apprenticeship training, payable directly to the provider and the government will pay the rest (up to the maximum amount of government funding available for that apprenticeship). Newbury College can work with you to identify your skills requirements and develop a programme to best suit your business needs.
Find out more at our next Business Breakfast
More links: Visit the Gov.uk website
Despite some fantastic opportunities available, Newbury College is currently experiencing a shortage of suitable candidates applying for apprenticeship positions this September, especially in the catering, motor vehicle, engineering and hair industry areas.
The Government’s apprenticeship programme gives people the opportunity to experience practical on-the-job training whilst simultaneously studying for a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships were designed to help bridge the skills gap in certain industry areas such as catering, hospitality, engineering and construction.
After a UK-wide marketing campaign to promote the take up of apprenticeships, the number of people starting apprenticeships in 2014/2015 rose to 499,900 (up 14% on the previous year). Despite this increase, the College is still concerned that not enough school leavers are considering apprenticeships as a route to a career.
“We have a wide range of local employers waiting to offer candidates fantastic opportunities to earn a salary and gain industry-specific training at the same time,” explains Anne Murdoch, Principal and Chief Executive, at Newbury College. “When school leavers come to us they often haven’t even considered apprenticeships as an option. What they don’t realise is that many apprenticeships offer training up to Level 5 and above, which is the equivalent to a degree.”
“Whilst it is often possible to start an apprenticeship at any time of the year, a few of the opportunities we have available at the College will come to an end this month due to the requirement to attend a day release programme,” continues Murdoch. “So we urge potential candidates who haven’t yet decided whether to stay in education or enter the workplace, to consider apprenticeships as an option.”
Newbury College is offering candidates the chance to find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships and obtain help with applying for one of 22 current vacancies, by attending an Apprenticeship Information Session on Wednesday 21 September between 16:30-17:30pm. Click here to register for the event.
For an informal discussion, contact the College’s Advice, Information and Guidance or Apprenticeship team on 01635 845000.