Award-winning regional college group Education Partnership North East (EPNE) is joining providers from across the country in celebrating T Levels Week. 

EPNE began offering the qualifications at Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form in 2021 and is now celebrating the launch of additional courses from this academic year, welcoming dozens of new students. T Levels also started at Northumberland College from September 2022, with more courses added to each college’s curriculum from 2023 onwards. 

T Levels are qualifications for 16-19-year-olds taken after GCSEs and are broadly equivalent in size to three A-Levels, accrue UCAS points, and focus on technical and vocational skills. They can help students into skilled employment, higher study, or apprenticeships. 

These pioneering new qualifications have been designed in collaboration with leading employers to provide the skills that businesses across the region need. The subject areas on offer reflect some of the top business growth areas such as digital skills, engineering and manufacturing, management and administration, health and care, and education. 

T Levels are unique as they combine classroom study with industry placements so young people gain valuable work experience in their chosen sector. Many businesses including NHS foundation trusts, local authorities and primary schools are embracing T Levels to bring in new ideas and the latest skills, and to find, nurture and secure talented young people. 

Mark Jackson, Assistant Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Transport at Sunderland City Council, who featured in a national campaign to promote T Levels through their partnership with Sunderland College, said: “The council regularly hosts students in further and higher education as they develop their practical skills. 

“Students who have come to the council on work experience and placements have subsequently come to work here on apprenticeships after receiving their qualifications. 

“We were very pleased to highlight how the T Level qualifications can work and how they can offer a route into work and a career.” 

Martin Williams, Head of Digital Engineering Specialists Infostretch UK, who were among the first employers in the region to support the new qualification, added: “As employers, we have a crucial role to play in shaping future skills, growth and productivity.  

“Engaging with Sunderland College and the ambitious young people embarking on their T Levels is a win-win situation for employers and students alike. Alongside their classroom learning, we’re giving students real life experience of what it is like to solve some of the world’s most exciting digital challenges.” 

Victoria Moyse, Work Experience and Placement Lead at EPNE, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating T Levels Week. 

“Our first cohort of T Level students commenced their industry placements from January 2022, and we have been delighted with their progress. 

“The placements provide students with the opportunity to apply their studies and knowledge in a real-world setting which aligns to their chosen area of study, occupational specialism, and future aspirations. For employers, the students can be a real benefit as they bring enthusiasm, new skills and fresh ideas.” 

To find out more about taking a T Level student on industry placement as an employer, contact 0300 770 8000 or email

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19