Education is changing. The tried and tested model of GCSEs, A Levels and University, for so long seen as the go-to route for a generation of young people eager to make their mark in the world of work, is evolving.

With an increasing demand for Apprenticeships and more vocational qualifications it’s up to us as a college to meet that demand, to change the way we work and to make our courses more relevant than ever before.

It means shifting our focus away from ‘traditional’ routes into Higher Education.

An ever-expanding range of BTEC courses are viewed by UCAS as equivalent qualifications to A Levels and they have the advantage of combining classroom study with practical, hands-on experience of a career to last a lifetime.

No longer do students merely study for an exam, they prepare for their future.

We want to offer the qualifications that matter most to students and employers alike. We want business leaders to see your CV and sit up and take notice. The workforce of the future needs an education it can be proud of, equipping them with the skills to prepare them for a long and successful career.

From 2020, the Government is looking to roll out a new qualification, T Levels. Ahead of this change we want to make sure both students and employers benefit from the extended work placement opportunities these courses will require.

Already we have established a partnership with 50 of the leading businesses in Northamptonshire to offer almost 200 placements to young people. This number will continue to grow and opportunities will keep on coming.

It’s an exciting change and it’s a change we look forward to playing our part in.

As the leading college in region, Northampton College continues to be at the forefront of pioneering, innovative education – leading the way to a brighter, better beginnings and ensuring Northamptonshire’s workforce is fit for the future.

student notebook and pen

Northampton College is working with 50 of the county’s leading employers to create the perfect pathway for the workforce of the future.

The Industrial Placement programme, a forerunner to the College’s planned participation in the Government’s roll-out of T Levels, will see employers working to identify those students who are best-placed to fill skills gaps and step into their workplace.

A total of 173 placements are available through the College this year and employers will get the chance to meet students and ‘match’ them to their roles at a ‘speed-dating’ style event at Booth Lane on September 19/20.

Representatives from companies including Balfour Beatty, Travis Perkins, Igus, Holiday Inn and Recol Engineering will be on hand to speak to students and ensure the right candidates are matched to the right placements.

Ruth Exelby, assistant principal for employer engagement, said: “These programmes have been shaped by employers who have advised government that young people need more access to good quality, vocationally relevant work experience to understand the skills and behaviours that employers expect from their future workforce.

“There is an increased demand for vocational qualifications and the new T Levels will help meet that demand and complement the strategic focus of Northampton College as a vocational specialist meeting the needs of both employers and the wider community.

“These industrial placements will give students an unprecedented advantage to secure the skills they need for their future careers and ensure employers have a pool of talent to recruit from for their business.”

Under the new programme, students will spend a total of 50 days a year with their employer, compared to the previous guideline minimum of 30 hours.

Mrs Exelby added: “The placements will cover everything from business administration or catering to electrical engineering and construction, giving the students an invaluable insight into the demands of local employers and putting them one step ahead of their competition when it comes to looking for full time employment in years to come.”

The programme was piloted by Mercedes Petronas earlier this year, with Northampton College students filling a wide range of roles at the engineering giants base in Brixworth.

That experience has helped shape the make-up of the new programme, with systems in place to ensure both employers and students benefit from the initiative.

To find out more about the Industrial Placements programme at Northampton College visit

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Safia Vernon, Level 2 and 3 Business Administration

Safia Vernon, Level 2 and 3 Business Administration

"I didn’t want to stay on at school, I wanted to do something practical. Doing this Apprenticeship has been so informative, I’ve learnt a lot of skills which will last...



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