Carlyn Peever, one of ETF’s CPD Trainers, speaks to Barking and Dagenham College (BDC) trainers Mark Hyde, Plumbing Lecturer/Advanced Practitioner, and Errol Seaman, STEM Centre Development Manager, about their involvement in the New Teacher Programme (NTP) and Teaching T Levels (TTL) programme and how this has helped them prepare for T Level delivery in 2021.
Can you tell us about BDC’s involvement with T Levels?
MH: We are currently engaged in preparing for T Levels. This has so far consisted of a series of team meetings where we have discussed topics such as learners’ entry requirements, course structure, and employer outreach programmes to enhance our scope of opportunities with regards to work placement requirements. Since delivering these NTP and TTL sessions, we have also discussed how we can become involved in local TRIPs communities.
ES: BDC is a Centre of Excellence for WorldSkills and I am the lead for the project. WorldSkills is a global charity working with employers, education, and governments to raise standards in apprenticeships and technical education. They run national competitions, designed by industry experts, which assess students’ knowledge, practical skills, and employability attributes against set criteria in a competitive timed environment. I can see that there will be a direct link with T Levels and that a lot of the principles from the WorldSkills Competition can be applied to T Levels.
How are you involved with T Levels?
MH: I work in the plumbing department at BDC where we are planning to deliver T Levels from September 2021. The delivery of these T Level training sessions has led to a huge advancement in my understanding of what T Levels are as it has encouraged me to comprehend the course content fully, and also to do as much external reading and networking as possible.
ES: I was an Advanced Practitioner for five years before I took up my current role of STEM Centre Development Manager. Although I will not be involved directly in teaching T Levels, I can see how my past and current experience align with them, for example creating competition-based assessments and creating contextual scenarios where students have to meet certain elements and standards within a time limit.
What positives are there for your organisation in delivering the courses?
MH: I’m most excited about how the T Level programme has the potential to raise the profile of the plumbing industry. The industry is at the beginning of a revolution which will see green technologies becoming more and more efficient, eventually replacing the gas-powered systems we use today. The focus the T Level programme puts on work placement, employer involvement and development of the learners’ character, as well as their vocational knowledge, is a fitting approach to promote the next generation of engineers that the plumbing industry will need to convert our homes to accommodate these green technologies.
ES: The NTP and TTL programmes give a good frame of reference and foundation for teachers. I think TTL is a short and sharp programme that provides a really useful structure for curriculum areas.
How have these courses helped you prepare for T Level delivery?
MH: These courses have been expertly designed and are therefore extremely efficient at relating the core knowledge of what a T Level consists of. They have also served as an excellent networking opportunity. I have had some very useful discussions about T Levels with colleagues both within and outside of my organisation during these courses. These discussions occurred not only when I was a participant but also when I delivered the course myself.
ES: Although I will not be delivering T Levels personally, my thoughts are that if you haven’t done your homework about T Levels, you should start with the Understanding T Levels course. If you have, you can jump in with the Vocational and Professional Upskilling course.
What do you think is important to know before delivering T Levels?
MH: The ETF provide an Employer Engagement Coordinator (EEC) specific to each part of the country. Communication with our EEC could be key in assisting us to reach out to as many employers as possible.
ES: It’s important to understand the structure of T Levels. Also, knowing the background of the participants; what college they are from, what role they have in the college and what their subject specialism is, can help you relate the content of the course to them.
Do you have any top tips?
MH: My top tip would be to network as much as possible. Talking to other teachers and organisations about how they are running, or planning to run, T Levels has been extremely valuable to my colleagues and I as we prepare to deliver T Levels. Involvement in TRIPs communities will also be a very helpful experience in sharing ideas about delivering T Levels and in making contact with employers.
ES: For trainers delivering these sessions, my top tips are:
What do you value the most about your involvement in the programme?
MH: So far, my involvement in this programme has been a very pleasurable experience. I have gained invaluable knowledge on T Levels and had opportunities to share ideas with colleagues from across the sector. In addition to this, I have cherished the opportunity to work alongside the ETF in delivering a course that has been so well designed. The support, encouragement, and guidance that we received from Carlyn was always reassuring, insightful and helpful.
ES: I can see how beneficial the courses are and the programme really helps teachers to prepare for T Level delivery.