The article was written by Damian and published in this week's Petersfield Post and Herald editions:
"Later this week I am looking forward to visiting Alton College for the official opening of their new Gaming & Creative Digital Studios; a facility that is being used by students studying one of the college’s new T Level course in IT Production, Design & Development.
Its sister college – Havant & South Downs College - was chosen to be in the vanguard of colleges nationally to launch the first three T Levels last year, in Construction, Digital and Education & Childcare, and has already expanded its offer to a total of 12 course across a wider range of sectors.
This September marks not only the first anniversary of T Levels but also their expansion to a whole new range of topics including building services engineering for construction, digital business services, digital support services, health, healthcare science, onsite construction, and science, widening career opportunities for more young people.
It was during my time as Education Secretary that the decision was taken to press ahead with the introduction of T Levels, aiming to put technical skills and qualifications on a much more even footing with A Levels.
The established route into academic study has for a long time been the dominant path, which is of course right for many but not all.
Offering T Levels not only broadens the post-16 education opportunity for young people but also provides valuable skills for our economy, supporting key growth areas and those with high demand.
T Levels are a two-year qualification that are equivalent to 3 A Levels and focus on vocational skills and can assist students get into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships. All courses feature English, maths and digital content, alongside the central subject.
A blend of 80% classroom learning alongside 20% ‘on-the-job’ structured industry placement makes T Levels highly desirable as a qualification but also directly relevant to employers, supporting the next generation of the workforce to acquire the knowledge and practical industry experience which are in demand by businesses and the wider economy.
The breath of course will continue to expand, including accounting, finance and a range of manufacturing options due to be introduced in September 2022, and agriculture, land management as well as legal services, catering and hair and beauty among those due to be launched the year after.
I was delighted last year to establish and lead the All Party Parliamentary Group on T Levels, bringing together a cross party body of MPs to raise the profile of these new qualifications among parliamentarians, the education sector as well as among students and their parents.
Although I am unable to carry on in that role – due to my return to government as Security Minister – I know it will continue to do important work in helping to ensure T Levels become one of the main choices for students after GCSE, alongside A Levels and apprenticeships."
For more information on the courses available at HSDC and Alton, go to: https://www.hsdc.ac.uk/study-with-us/t-levels/ or for more general information, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-t-levels/introduction-of-t-levels