Stepnell provides practical experience for 'T' level students with Derby College Group

We have welcomed two students studying Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction at Derby College Group on three week placements to gain practical experience on our sites and within our offices in the East Midlands.

The students are enrolled on the new ‘T’ level Placement programme, the course which follow GCSEs are accessible to school leavers’ students of 16/17 years, and are equivalent to achieving 3 ‘A’ Level qualifications.

These 2-year courses, have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses, with the content matched to the needs of industry and preparing students for work, further training or study. T Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placements of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days).

Our senior design manager Darren Wallace has been leading the placement process and providing the students with hands-on, real life opportunities to learn about the industry and its various roles.

The process began with students taking part in a formal interview, organised virtually with three panel business members from the industry, followed by feedback and scoring the students across various attributes.

Following the interview sessions, students were offered three, one week placements over a 3 month period with us, which contributes towards the 45 days’ work experience they are required to complete as part of their 2 year course.

We provided the students with opportunities to learn through reviewing a tender submission and presenting findings, completed some CAD/modelling work, they were given an understanding of design coordination through attending a design team meeting and reviewing design scope of works for architects and structural engineers. The students also visited a number of our live and completed sites across refurbishment and new build projects, to look at progress and the finished works.

Hassan Mazhar, Work Experience Co-ordinator at Derby College Group commented:

“We are grateful to Stepnell for providing high quality placements for our students as these are a core part of T Levels which are the new Gold Standard of vocational education and training. The students gained an insight in to the workings of a construction company and were able to put in to practice all that they had learned in the classroom and apply it to real world situations. The students found the placement very rewarding and further cemented the students’ career journey whilst supporting them in to a positive destination.”

We have also attended two Employer Task Group Meetings. These are high level discussion forums attended by the T-Level course authors, Derby College Group lecturers and Industry representation. The purpose is to understand the development of these new courses, provide feedback on current experiences and challenges in the interests of improvement, but also to promote the courses for the future.