T-Levels Industry Placement
T-Levels Industry Placement with Lawrence Gardner, Head of IT, Wrekin Housing Trust
How did you get in to offering industry placements with Telford College?
Our collaborative relationship with Telford College is really important to us. We, like many other local employers, continue to be challenged, in finding experienced candidates of the right calibre to fill our IT positions. We have shifted to what is often referred to as a ‘grow-your-own’ approach – where we look to take on and develop youngsters who exhibit a strong potential for this line of work, taking them through a key skills journey to be able to fulfil roles within our business. A key feeder of prospective talent are Schools, Colleges, and Universities. Supporting students in work placements provides an early introduction to our business, and an opportunity for us to showcase the roles we need to employ into. The win-win situation enables us to play a proactive part in encouraging youngsters into the IT field, and prospectively provides a pathway to future employment.
What sorts of activities does a student get involved in on an industry placement?
Of course, working in any precision discipline means we have to start students with the basics and then move forwards as they exhibit aptitude and understanding of the role. Students find themselves in a busy work area, with no shortage of challenging work, with a guiding hand, so that they are neither thrown in at the deep end or left solely with menial tasks.
What do you get back as an employer from offering the placement?
We get to play our part in seeking to address the IT industry skills shortage, providing what might be a student’s first contact with IT in a work setting – we hope that we can cement their enthusiasm for this line of work. On a more selfish note we get an opportunity to meet with potential future employees.
Would you recommend offering an industry placement to other employers?
I do not think that the skills shortage in the IT industry will correct itself and that the best way to influence it for the better is to encourage new entrant skills and to invest in their development. Placements can be a key feeder into this.
You can’t do it on the cheap, it’s not money as much as time. For the student to get a fulfilling and meaningful experience someone in the workplace needs to have the time and energy to support them, especially in the early days. This also enables a more useful judgement to be made as to any propective future employment potential.
With thanks to Telford College for this case study.