Digital engineering leader Infostretch has welcomed its first intake of T Level students in partnership with Sunderland College.

Launched in 2020, T Levels are geared to give young people a head start towards their chosen career. Developed in collaboration with employers, they combine classroom learning and on-the-job experience specifically designed to meet the needs of industry and prepare students for the world of work.

The newly designed qualifications are part of the UK Government’s skills drive, a strategic priority designed to help plug the nation’s growing skills gap. In particular, the demand for digital and data skills is acute. Research commissioned by the UK Government showed that almost half of the businesses polled are recruiting for data skills, but that just under half (46 per cent) have struggled to fill these roles in the last two years.

Silicon Valley-based Infostretch, a specialist in digital engineering services, is among the first employers in the North East to support the new qualification. This month’s cohort of new students mark the first targeted scheme by the company to provide job opportunities to young people under the age of 21. Education Partnership North East, which is one of the UK’s largest providers of further education and counts Sunderland College under its umbrella of institutions, is one of the key drivers of T Levels, having recently received funding from the UK Government’s T Level Capital Fund to invest in a new £3 million immersive environment dedicated to delivering the qualifications.

Victoria Moyse, Work Experience and Placement Lead at Education Partnership North East, said: “There’s no substitute for experience. That’s why, working in partnership with employers like Infostretch, Sunderland College is helping to educate the talent of tomorrow. T Level qualifications, which blend technical education and on-the-job learning are a great opportunity for young people acquire the skills they need to thrive in the modern workplace.”

Martin Williams, Head of Infostretch UK, added: “I can’t think of an industry that isn’t being disrupted by digital. However, the dizzying rate of digital adoption now means that the demand for digital skills is outstripping supply. 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’s like solving some of the world’s most exciting digital challenges.”

Infostretch, which employees hundreds people across 15 offices around the world, is committed to promoting continuous learning among all its employees. To date, Infostretch has focused on providing employees different opportunities to develop new skills, experiment and take charge of their own careers as part of its Infostretch University, a defined on-demand learning programs that further digital engineering expertise. The T Level scheme complements and extends the company’s current skills development.

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