£500m boost to train ‘skilled army’ of teens

For the students, it would mean a greater choice from a greater range of employers"
For the students, it would mean a greater choice from a greater range of employers"
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Calls for ‘collective mindset’ to ensure all students get the best from new T-levels

A £500m annual boost to build an ‘army of skilled young people’ has been welcomed by teachers in Wigan.

Earlier this summer, education secretary Justine Greening said the country could only rise to the challenge of developing young people’s skills and talents if government and business worked together.

During a keynote speech at the British Chamber of Commerce education summit, the minister said new T-levels, backed by an extra £500m of government investment a year, would be key to this success.

As students returned to college this week, the move was welcomed by teachers at Wigan UTC.
“We are excited by the announcements and pleased they are recognising the need for further investment in students who do not always want to go down the A-level route but prefer the technical expertise they accrue alongside their college learning,” said Elaine Delahunt, Head of College from Wigan UTC.
“For the students, it would mean a greater choice from a greater range of employers.

“The chance to achieve the gold standard in technical and professional excellence along the pathway to skilled employment is a great opportunity for them.”

The new T-levels are set to be phased in from 2018.

The government hopes they will simplify vocational training in England and put technical qualifications on an equal footing with academic ones.

Elaine said government backing would help UTC offer a greater choice of pathways and more links with businesses, especially locally.

“It would also be an excellent opportunity to feed the local talent into local businesses,” they said.

“Wherever research shows there are ‘skills gaps’ around the towns and cities this would help to alleviate the problem.

“From what the education secretary is saying, we would be able to invest further research into teaching methods, which would provide a good support package for staff training the students and would raise standards so everyone attending UTC would receive high quality provision along their desired pathway from both the employers and college.”

However, Elaine said it was key that employers and businesses could deliver work placements together.

“There needs to be a collective mindset approach from employers, we need to keep business investors happy in all of this.

“Also, would there be a ‘tier divide’ for those following the A-level pathway compared to the T-level?”

Wigan UTC offers 14 to 19 year olds the opportunity to study at a specialist centre of excellence equipped to the highest standards and sponsored by universities and local, regional and multinational employers.

For more information on how it could help you pursue a career in business, engineering, food, care or logistics, visit www.wiganutc.org