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Quality technical education to benefit Oldham College students, business and the local economy

Oldham College is at the leading edge of bringing about a step change in the quality and awareness of technical education provision – benefitting students, employers and the local economy alike.

Building on our recent Ofsted success and investment in facilities we are working with several external partners to be ‘new routes ready’ in plenty of time for launching the new T Levels.

The Gatsby Foundation have been supporting us through their Local Area Programme and have produced a short video as part of our work focussing together on how people can progress from a technical pathway into real careers, skilled employment, or further study.

This vital work will help people to better understand and take advantage of alternative options to purely academic routes to success.

A key part of this approach is meaningful long-term work placements, known as Industry Placements, which are mutually beneficial for both learners and employers.

Owaif Qasi, a Graphic Design student at Oldham College, was offered a placement with Co-op News, a locally based online and print resource, as part of this approach.

In the video below, he explains how this has boosted his real-life skills, confidence, future employability prospects and ambitions.


Owaif said: “The advice I would give to other fellow learners on my course or different courses is to ‘go for it’. You might regret later in life that you have not got enough experience because there might be a job that you want to do and they might ask if you have experience in this field – and if you have not, then that’s a big flaw. You also gain a lot of social skills and confidence in a work environment”.

Rebecca Harvey, Executive Editor of Co-op News, advocates long-term work placements and welcomed the approach from Oldham College.

“One of the plus points for us was that having a student is actually being able to give something back to our local community,” she said. “But I think the benefit of a longer term placement is the student gets to know the organisation, the organisation gets to know the student, and there’s a level of trust that builds up in ways that you don’t get with a short-term placement.”

Oldham College is already leading the way nationally in publicising the new T-Levels, which will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on the job experience; through an Industry Placement of at least 315 hours (about 45 days)

Using a grant from the Opportunity Area we have purchased and kitted out a hi-tech van complete with video screens, Virtual Reality headsets and spaces for conversations with learners. In the coming months this will be touring local schools and events to explain exactly what the new qualifications are and how everyone will benefit.

Local employers are at the heart of designing new technical qualifications and pathways to employment – including the new T-Levels set to launch at Oldham College in 2021/22. These and our apprenticeship programmes will provide the skilled workers that local employers need. Any business interested in finding out more can contact us via email to

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