Why host students doing digital T Levels
Digital skills are more in demand than ever before, across every single sector of the economy. Many businesses also need people with specific digital skills. Examples are social media and website design in marketing, data analysis in finance and operations, and cyber-security and technical support in IT.
Basic digital skills are included in all T Levels. Students on digital T Levels learn the specialist skills that make them highly valued by all organisations, not just specialist digital businesses.
Hosting a student on an industry placement is a great way for you to gain the valuable digital skills you need. Your student will make a genuine contribution to the business. Many students have part-time jobs with their host employers and continue working for them after finishing their T Level.
Who this resource is for
- Leaders and managers responsible for digital opportunities and growth.
- HR leads and business partners.
- Departmental heads.
- Staff supporting students during the industry placement.
About the resource
This resource highlights the value to employers of hosting students learning specialist digital skills.
- A video featuring employers talking about the benefits of hosting students and how they plan, prepare and manage placements successfully.
- Downloadable infographic with key facts about digital skills.
- A case study of a small IT business hosting students in digital placements.
- Digital job roles that students may fill during their placement.
- Checklist of the digital skills you need in your business.
You can use it to:
- Decide whether to offer a digital placement;
- Work out what the student will do and where they will work;
- Encourage other people in your organisation to get involved;
- Plan the placement and create a placement job description to share with potential students.
Videos – How industry placements work in digital businesses and teams
These short videos share the real experience of hosting T Level students on industry placements, so that more employers can develop the know-how and confidence to host students themselves.
They are aimed at employers who are:
- Thinking about offering a digital industry placement for the first time
- Offering digital placements already and planning to host more students in future.
Watch the videos to find out how employers benefit from digital placements and how their students contribute.
There are five videos. Click on the first to watch them all straight through without a break, or click on each one to watch it separately:
- How industry placements work in digital businesses and digital teams
- Benefits to the business
- Real work
- Relationships with students
- Relationships with providers and community.
Data showing why digital skills are vital to the UK economy.
- 9% – percentage % of UK workforce employed in digital roles
- 2.9 million – number of employees in digital roles
- £150 billion – amount the digital sector contributes each year to the UK economy
- 3x – the digital sector is growing three times faster than the average
- 30 minutes – a new digital technology business is launched every half-hour
- 1.65 million – number of jobs in the ‘data economy’ (the use of data to add value to products and services)
- £125 billion – what the data economy is worth in the UK
- £63 billion – amount the UK loses every year because of the digital skills gap in the workforce
- 80% – percentage of roles that use basic digital skills
- 10% – productivity gap between organisations that recruit and employ people with digital and data skills and those that don’t
Employer case study
“It's always been our intent as we grow the company to bring in young, sharp people and grow our own.” So says Any Dennahy, managing director of CTECH Business Solutions based in Fareham, Hampshire. “We're a small IT company and we want to work with the local community. T Levels are an ideal fit for us.”
Andy’s business partner John Cole agrees. “I took that decision to take a leap of faith for myself and build our business into the community where I've been born and bred.” Being local himself, it makes complete sense to invest in young people who live and study locally.
“I play and coach rugby,” he says. “One of the biggest things that we do at the rugby club is bring on the next talent. It’s the same for our business. As long as you give them something back, these T Level students are a winning formula for our business.”
True to their word, John and Andy hosted three students on digital T Levels in the first year, took on another five in the next, and plan to host two more this year.
The students who have finished their placements have definitely got something back:
Social media designer Natasha: “I’ve grown a lot. I've learned how to work in a team as well as with different people. Everyone has just supported me really well.”
Content creator Tom: “One of the best things about the course is definitely the placement, which ties together all of the knowledge that I learned and puts a real-life context behind it.”
Creative designer Max: “Being in contact with the client makes me feel like I have a proper role here at CTECH. It's a great place to collaborate and it's quite easy to spark up a meeting.”
And they’ve given a lot to the company too.
Tom again: “The biggest thing that I bring to the CTECH team is ideas because you know, you can't get enough of them, and new innovative ideas are what keeps business going.”
And Max: “So obviously I do programming as part of my course at college. I can bring that straight into my placement with doing web development for a sports clothing company.”
“They gain from working with us and we gain from working with them,” says Andy. “Because we're a small company, they get to see real business end to end, first hand. They get to work on real, customer-facing projects. We're not doing it. They're doing it. And the clients are over the moon with the work that the students have done.”
“I want to make sure we get the best talent that we possibly can in order to drive our business forward,” says John. And that’s exactly what their placement students provide. “They are the future. That’s what it’s all about.”
The table shows some of the most common roles that a student in a digital placement could fill. Use it to help you consider possible roles for students in your organisation, department or team. It may also help you to think of other roles they could fill as well.
|Digital Support Services
IT Support Specialist
|Provides technical support to end-users, troubleshooting hardware and software problems and helping with system installations and upgrades
|IT Operations Support Technician
|Helps to monitor and maintain IT systems and infrastructure by performing routine system checks, responding to alerts or incidents, and helping with system upgrades or deployments
|Helps to set up and maintain computer networks by troubleshooting network issues and ensuring network security
|Information Security Analyst
|Helps to identify and prevent security breaches by analysing potential vulnerabilities and implementing security measures to protect digital systems
Digital Production, Design and Development
|Builds software applications, coding, and debugging using programming languages like Java, Python, or C#.
|Designs user interfaces and user experiences for websites, mobile applications or software, focusing on usability and user satisfaction.
|Develops multimedia applications, interactive presentations or e-learning materials by integrating various media elements such as graphics, audio, video, and animations
Digital Business Services
|Collects, organises and analyses data to identify patterns, trends, and insights that can drive business decisions
|Digital Marketing Assistant
|Helps in digital marketing campaigns by managing social media accounts, analysing campaign performance and optimising digital marketing strategies
|Gathers user insights and conducts usability tests, analysing feedback to inform the design and development process
|Manages and optimises online sales platforms such as e-commerce websites or marketplaces, to drive sales and enhance the customer experience
Checklist – digital skills in your organisation
Use the checklist to:
- Identify the skills your organisation needs;
- Decide where these skills are needed most (which departments, locations etc.).