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Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has called upon the experts at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) during a visit to their site on Friday 11 May. Drawing on the College’s expertise as the leading provider of apprenticeships in the region, Ms Truss, accompanied by Basingstoke MP Maria Miller, was keen to explore BCoT’s success and experience of working with local businesses.
The minister was particularly interested to understand the work BCoT was doing in preparation for the introduction of ‘T levels’, the new technical study programmes, which are being developed in partnership with the government, businesses and education. To ensure Ms Truss was given an employer’s perspective alongside an educational one, BCoT also invited key representatives from two leading companies, Xtrac and Taylor Wimpey, to give their view on the programmes which are due for introduction in September 2020.
Speaking with BCoT’s Principal Anthony Bravo Ms Truss, who is the second most senior minister in HM Treasury, discussed the skills that students now need for careers, apprenticeships and the engineering sector. She was very impressed with the College’s performance in national league tables naming BCoT as one of the top colleges in the country for advanced technical skills training and their success in the 16-18 Positive Progression League Table* where they have the third highest score nationally.
Following her time at the College and the informative session with the expert team the Minster said: “I was struck during my visit by how much appetite there is to build on the jobs boom that Basingstoke has experienced since 2010. Jobs and investment in technology and start-up business will be key to this. “Basingstoke and the surrounding area is already home to billions of pounds of exports and huge success stories who have exported their products to the world, and the government wants to see even more of this.
“We are committed to keeping a strong business culture in the UK, which is why we have kept corporation tax low and made it easier for companies to take on staff.” With BCoT topping a number of leagues tables Ms Truss was also keen to understand how the College teaches students the skills needed for employment, including maths, particularly in relation to enhancing future career prospects of learners.
Principal Anthony Bravo, who has ambitions for BCoT to become the leading provider of apprenticeships in the south said: “I am very honoured that out of all the colleges in the UK, Liz Truss has chosen BCoT based on our exemplary relationships with our business partners and our expertise in delivering advanced technical programmes. We are very keen to support the government in any way we can in developing these exciting new qualifications which will transform technical education in the UK. This is a great opportunity for young people looking to study a technical qualification at Level 3 which is the equivalent to A Levels.”
The introduction of T levels aims to streamline technical education and focus on developing skills that sit within 15 industry routes. The first T levels will be introduced in September 2020 with full roll-out intended from September 2022. The Level 3 technical programmes are intended to prepare students for highly skilled jobs, adaptable to meet the skills needs of the future. The aim is that students achieving T levels will be able to progress to the highest levels of skilled employment or technical education.
Maria Miller MP who accompanied Ms Truss on her visit to BCoT said: “It was wonderful to welcome the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss to Basingstoke and showcase the excellent opportunities offered to students at BCoT. The Business Forum also demonstrated the importance of SME’s to the economy and I am struck by how much Basingstoke has to offer in both in terms of economic and employment opportunities.”
Photo courtesy of Sean Dillow.