OLDHAM College is at the leading edge of bringing about a step change in the quality and awareness of technical education provision – benefitting students, employers and the local economy alike.
Building on recent Ofsted success and investment in facilities, the college is working with several external partners to be ‘new routes ready’ in plenty of time for launching the new T Levels.
The Gatsby Foundation has supported the college through their Local Area Programme and has produced a short video as part of college work focussing on how people can progress from a technical pathway into real careers, skilled employment or further study.
This vital work will help people to better-understand and take advantage of alternative options to purely academic routes to success.
A key part of this approach is meaningful long-term work placements, known as Industry Placements, which are mutually beneficial for both learners and employers.
Owaif Qasi, a graphic design student at Oldham College, was offered a placement with Co-op News, a locally-based online and print operation, as part of this. This has boosted his life skills, confidence, future employability prospects and ambitions.
Owaif said: “My advice to other fellow-learners on my course or different courses is to ‘go for it’. Later in life, you might regret not having enough experience to get a job you want. An employer might ask if you have experience in this field? If you don’t, then that’s a big flaw. You also gain a lot of social skills and confidence in a work environment.”
Rebecca Harvey, Executive Editor of Co-op News, advocates long-term work placements and welcomed the approach from Oldham College.
“One of the plus-points for us in having a student on a placement is actually being able to give something back to the community,” she said. “The benefit of a longer-term placement is that the student and organisation get to know each other much better. There’s a level of trust that you don’t achieve with a short-term placement.”
Oldham College is already leading the way nationally in publicising the new T-Levels, which will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on the job’ experience through an Industry Placement of at least 315 hours (about 45 days)
Using a grant from the Opportunity Area, the college has purchased and fitted-out a hi-tech van complete with video screens, virtual reality headsets and spaces for conversations with learners. In the coming months this will be touring local schools and events to explain the new qualifications and benefits for learners and employers.
Local employers are at the heart of designing new technical qualifications and pathways to employment, including the new T-Levels that are to launch at Oldham College in 2021/22. These and college apprenticeship programmes will provide the skilled workers that local employers need.
Any business interested in finding out more can contact us via email to OpportunityAreas.OLDHAM@education.gov.uk