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Further Capital Works Planned Ahead of Next T Levels Launch

Derby College Group (DCG) has been awarded a £780,000 government grant to create new laboratory and integrated IT facilities for students who will join the second stage of the T Levels roll out programme this September.

Existing rooms at DCG’s Joseph Wright Centre will be refurbished over the coming months ahead of the launch of the Science T Level this September which is focused on enabling the next generation of laboratory scientists to become work-ready.

The new facilities for T Level students have been designed to replicate current and future working conditions in industrial laboratories.

These include a sterile Clean Room for microbiology work complete with a cell hood and viewing window to enable other students to observe work being done inside.

Cameras will also be set up across the laboratory so that students can watch live experiments from an LED display screen above their workstations – a practice that is being widely adopted in the industry to share good practice.

Other features include blackout blinds to enable light-sensitive experiments as well as group and individual work areas with gas taps and sockets.

The enhanced IT area also has group and individual work areas including three enclosed communication hubs for private study and liaising with employers.

These facilities will enable Science T Level students to combine theoretical work in Chemistry, Biology and Physics with additional core skills such as research and evaluation, project management and problem solving.

There will also be laboratory-specific modules such as health and safety, ethics, legislation and good practice which students would normally not learn until they secured a job.

Work placements are being planned for a wide range of laboratory settings in the NHS and high-tech industries.

T Levels are the new ‘Gold Standard’ vocational qualifications which are the equivalent to A-Levels. Developed in partnership with employers, there is a strong focus on industry placements to better prepare young people for the world of work.

DCG was the only College in the East Midlands to offer all of the first T Level wave roll-out programmes and students are progressing with the Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning; Digital Production, Design and Development and Education and Childcare  programmes.

As well as the new Science T Level, other study programmes and Transitions programmes (for students who need to improve their GCSE grades) will launch in September 2021 in Construction: Building Services; Construction: Civil Engineering; Digital Support Services and Health.

DCG Vice Principal Kate Martin said: “T Levels are being rolled out in line with the demand from employers for certain skills and the wealth of jobs that are available now and in the future in these sectors.

“One of those key sectors is science and the increased requirement for laboratory technician skills – highlighted most recently with the success of the vaccines developed in labs across the world.

“The T Level study programmes which combine high level qualifications with valuable industry placements will therefore give our students the edge when applying for such jobs, university places or high apprenticeships.

“We are delighted to have been successful in the second wave funding support and to be able to provide industry-standard facilities for our Science T Level students.

“There has already been a great interest in this and, indeed, all of the other T Level programmes thanks to a growing understanding amongst students, parents and schools about the benefits to students of combining classroom study with work experience in such a structured way.”

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