Middlesbrough College has secured Government backing to deliver a full range of the pioneering new technical qualifications, T Levels.
Following a thorough bidding process, the College was confirmed as just one of a handful of institutions across the country to deliver the two-year courses developed to meet the needs of employers.
It means multi-million-pound plans for a new Digital Centre, Construction Skills Centre and extension of the College’s A Level catering facilities will be accelerated.
The three-storey expansion will house nearly 2,000 sq. m of learning space with specialist computing equipment.
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “For several months now we’ve successfully trialled T Levels, working in closely with employers across Teesside to hone courses to the exact needs of businesses.
“With confirmation of our bid it means we’re ready to hit the ground running with cutting edge T Level courses in the digital and construction skills that are underpinning the recovery and growth of our area.
“T Levels are high quality, exciting routes into employment, apprenticeships or further study that give learners the technical skills most in demand in the jobs market.
“Whilst COVID has created an unsettling time, this progress will mean students can look forward to fantastic new opportunities and a new route to enhancing their career prospects.”
In addition to the T Levels already offered by Middlesbrough College, a full programme of courses will launch in September 2021, as building work on the new facilities is completed.
In the forthcoming Digital Centre, learners will get the chance to work in industry-leading programming suites, cyber labs, special effects rooms, games design suites, video editing suites and a dedicated film and TV studio.
Digital courses will cover skills in games development, IT, computing networking, software programming, cyber security, digital video production and digital video production.
The T Levels will link to Middlesbrough College’s wider course offering, allowing learners to progress seamlessly on to foundation degree and degree level.
Meanwhile the Construction Skills Workshop will give learners hands-on experience with tools and systems they’d expect to find in the workplace.
The College is already working with a range of construction firms to make sure courses equip learners with the skills so in demand on Teesside due to the major development projects taking place.
Zoe added: “We’re in the midst of an exciting time for Teesside – with the rise of our leading digital cluster here in Middlesbrough and the momentum behind the ambitious Teesworks plans.
“T Levels are all about delivering the technical skills that will fuel the success of those projects, and our area more widely, with high value jobs operating at the cutting edge of technology and knowledge.
“They are a vital component of this country’s modern industrial strategy, and the Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan being led by the Mayor and Combined Authority.
“T Levels are fantastic routes for school leavers who’ve finished GCSEs and want to get qualifications on par with A Levels with hands-on experience that will make them attractive to employers.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “There are many avenues to a high-quality, rewarding career, it’s not just about going to university to get a degree.
“T levels are a great example of that, and they will help young people from across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool gain the skills, along with practical experience, they’ll need to take advantage of the opportunities and jobs we’re creating, not just at Teesworks but across the region.
“I’m delighted Middlesbrough College has been chosen to deliver these courses, which will set up our students with the expertise they need to succeed and help develop the skills our brilliant businesses are crying out for.”
Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston added: “The new Digital Centre will help train the talent f tomorrow here on Teesside. Our digital sector is thriving and it is set to grow with fantastic opportunities available to those with digital skills.
“Young people really should consider a career in the digital sector. There are thousands of jobs that cannot be filled as there is a digital skills shortage.”
T Levels include an industrial placement of between 45-60 days and exam assessment.
To find out more about T Levels visit mbro.ac.uk/school-leavers/t-levels or call 01642 333333.