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BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

Beyond The Classroom: Text

NJL have partnered with Runshaw College to support their T-level programme to provide work experience to students. NJL have recently hosted an amazing T-Level student for the week who was awarded the ‘Student of the Month’ prize for their dedication and hard work. This is the start of a 9 week placement throughout the academic year.

Beyond The Classroom: Text

The T-level course, Designing, Surveying and Planning for Construction teaches students a broad range of skills to equip them for careers in the construction industry. In this post, Melody discusses her decision to pursue the T-level pathway, reflecting on her experiences from the initial week at NJL and outlines her aspirations for what she aims to achieve from this journey. In this way, she hopes to advise others on an alternative route to the industry. Top of Form 


What is a T-Level… and why this may be the route for you  

T-Levels are a new qualification which are a blend of A-Levels and BTECs to prepare you either for university or an apprenticeship. The course focuses on hard skills required for the industry, including the use of Computer Aided Design Software’s (CAD) which is commonly used across disciplines within the industry. In the first year of the course, you gain exposure to a variety of tasks to understand the timeline of  a development project. This allows you to understand the roles of different disciplines whether you are an aspiring architect, planner, or surveyor.

The nine-week work placement enhances your CV, making it more competitive when applying for jobs, apprenticeships, or university programs. Furthermore, this experience supports both personal and professional growth by aligning with your future career aspirations, and so providing a valuable insight into the daily activities of the job.


For me, the selling point of choosing a T-level is the practical experience, as it places you at the forefront of the career you may wish to pursue. In short, this course provides both education and practical experience. It is the invaluable insight into different career pathways which sets it apart from any other further education opportunity I could have pursued.

Beyond The Classroom: Text
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Beyond The Classroom: Image

My placement experience so far 

Over the week, I shadowed various team members, with key activities including:   


  • Attendance at Client Team meetings  

  • Outlining Validation Requirements for major commercial and retail developments 

  • Attendance at Design Teams meeting  

  • Appeals research on COMPASS to support a planning application within the green belt 

  • Article 4 Direction Research for Permitted Development Rights  

  • Review of recent appeal decisions to understand policy weighting  

  • Attendance at initial project inception meetings  



How this placement will shape my future choices  


The placement experience at NJL will provide insight into various roles within the wider built environment industry. It will develop my understanding of the processes involved, from initial site appraisal to the post determination of an application. In this way, I will also have a greater appreciation for the collaborative efforts between different disciplines over the lifetime of a development. This opportunity will guide my choices after T-Levels after realising the different career paths that I can pursue within the built environment either by university degree or a degree apprenticeship.  

Beyond The Classroom: Text

My future aspirations for the placement 


The activities I would like to participate in the weeks coming include;  

  • Site visits;  

  • Initial design inception meetings in person;  

  • Networking opportunities with different disciplines.  


By completing the 9 week placement, and the tasks outlined above, I hope to develop my hard and soft skills. This includes actively listening in meetings as well as using online tools such as pro map.  

Summary  

Based on my experience, if you are uncertain about which direction to take in your career, T-levels offer the perfect ‘bridge’ to various career options. Depending on your wider passion, there are different courses available to provide both education and practical experience. 

So, after this first week, I am looking forward to deepening my knowledge and my skill set by working on innovative projects over the next 8 weeks at NJL! 

Beyond The Classroom: Text
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Beyond The Classroom: Image
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