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Sports Department Staff with Employer

  • College one of a few across the country to win a share of £50m government funding to boost two T-level course facilities
  • Business big hitters in Suffolk back high level technical qualification, due to launch this September

West Suffolk College is one of only a handful of Further Education colleges across the country to win two competitive bids for a slice of £50m government funding, designed to enhance facilities for T-level courses - a brand new technical qualification starting this month.

The College is gearing up to trailblaze and deliver the first year of T-level study in Digital Support Services, Education and Childcare and Science.  

The two-year qualification is equivalent to three A-levels and has been designed hand in hand with employers such as Fijitsu and Amazon - blending classroom learning with an industry placement - giving students the technical skills they need for the workplace and high tech economies.

Now two major employers in Suffolk – BT (telecommunications) and Treatt (a global fragrance and flavour manufacturer) – have also confirmed their support for the scheme, by offering industry placements for students.

Dr Nikos Savvas, CEO of Eastern Colleges Group (which includes West Suffolk College, Abbeygate Sixth Form and One Sixth Form), said:

“This represents another major endorsement for West Suffolk College’s excellence at the forefront of education. We are truly putting ourselves on the map as one of the leading Further Education colleges in the country, as one of only a few to receive funding for not one but two T-level projects. This is ultimately great news for our students as they work towards high level, technical routes into key industries. As well as already being part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence scheme, we are now truly trailblazing with T-levels and continue to forge unique partnerships with local businesses to boost skills and the local economy – equipping our students to make long-lasting contributions to society.”

Andrew Corston, talent research strategy manager with BT at Adastral Park near Ipswich, said,

“As a major local employer, BT is hugely supportive of West Suffolk Colleges drive to be amongst the first education providers in Suffolk to offer T-levels, especially in Digital.  We’re continually looking to broaden access to the career opportunities we have available for college leavers. The T-level approach will really help students gain a much faster understanding of the expectations and opportunities from employers, such as BT, from day one of their course of study.”

Tracey Smith is the Global Analytical Innovation Manager at Treatt based in Bury St Edmunds. She said,

“Treatt are delighted to support the Laboratory Science T-level programme at West Suffolk College, which fills a gap in education for academic students who choose to follow a vocational pathway. A student working one day a week over a two year period, within a technical team, enables the student to gain excellent practical work experience, learn the importance of teamwork and good laboratory practice, as well as obtain an insight into the world of flavour chemistry.”

Catherine Lock, Head of Computer Science at West Suffolk College, said:

“We are incredibly excited to be running several new T level programmes from September and thankful for the business support we have received so far. Our investment in these courses reflects how committed we are to provide the best possible learner experience - in terms of the pathways we will be delivering.”

West Suffolk College is one of the providers to receive a share of the £50m investment announced by the DfE on the 25th August 2021 (£50 million to deliver world-class facilities for T Level students - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), to refurbish and create new facilities to deliver Digital T Level courses, including a mixed reality suite to explore uses of coding, and specialist classrooms and collaborative teaching spaces to enable informal learning. In addition, the college will be investing around £250,000 in new equipment and resources to support their T level offer.

Employers can also apply for a £1,000 cash boost from the Government for every T-level placement they offer, as part of a new incentive scheme launched earlier this year.

West Suffolk College is also one of just a few colleges nationally to be granted partnership with the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence scheme, with the aim of transferring world-class expertise and knowledge to participating colleges. WorldSkills UK ‘high performance coaches’ will deliver 60 hours of sessions at the College over the next six months, working with staff and students to share their globally acquired knowledge to raise the bar for technical training and teaching standards.

Find out more about T-Levels here