Seven colleges in the South West, including New College, have been awarded a share of £48.5million to ensure young people studying pioneering T Level qualifications have access to the cutting-edge facilities and equipment they need to get ahead.
The colleges are among 49 post-16 providers to secure government funding ahead of their roll-out of T Levels in September 2021.
Five colleges in Somerset – Bath College, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Strode College in Street, Weston College in Weston-super-Mare and Yeovil College – are among the recipients.
New College Swindon and Truro and Penwith College will also benefit from the T Level Capital Fund.
The new technical qualifications - equivalent to three A Levels - combine classroom study with industry placements so students gain the skills and experience they need to progress into work, further study or an apprenticeship.
T Level courses have been co-created with over 250 employers, including Fujitsu and Amazon, so they generate the skilled workforce that businesses need for the future.
The first three T Levels were introduced in September 2020 – in Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction, Digital Production, Design and Development and Education and Childcare.
A further seven T Levels will be available from September 2021, in subjects including Health and Science and Construction.
Subjects including Finance, Media and Legal will be introduced from 2022 and 2023.
T Level providers can now bid for a share of £135million to upgrade classrooms and buildings in readiness for students starting courses in September 2022.
Part of this funding will be made available to pay for specialist kit such as surveying equipment and engineering tools to make sure students have access to the industry-standard devices they need to be ready for the workplace.
The latest funding brings the total capital investment by the government to support T Levels to over £250million.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The successful launch of T Levels represents the start of a transformation in our technical education system, giving young people the vital skills they need to get ahead and giving employers the talented workforce they need to thrive as we build back better from the pandemic.
“To deliver world-class qualifications, providers need to have world-class facilities and cutting-edge equipment.
“This funding will help to make sure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed when they finish their T Levels.”
T Levels will play a key part in rebuilding the economy after the pandemic, boosting access to high-quality technical education for thousands of young people across the country.
The progress made so far on delivering the new qualifications is outlined in the latest T Level Action Plan, including an update on the launch of the first three T Levels in September 2020 and the criteria for providers wishing to deliver in 2023 and beyond.