South Downs student who is one of the first to be studying new digital production T-level looks forward to a career in technology

A PIONEER pupil from Fratton is one of the first students in the UK to be studying a new qualification.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:20 pm

Havant and South Downs student Chloe Knowles is working towards the T-level qualification in digital production, design and development.

T-levels are new qualifications for students aged 16 to 19 who have finished GCSEs, and aim to bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together on a course designed with businesses and employers.

Chloe is keen to work in software development or potentially developing apps or websites, and has already completed a two-week work placement in a company called YourCentre where she has written code.

Chloe Knowles

She said: ‘My experience during my T-level course so far has been really interesting and exciting.

‘I’ve loved talking to many different employers from all over the world and gaining knowledge I can take with me in the future.

‘Using more advanced python coding and using equipment like virtual machines has also been fun.’

Nicolette Dryden

Chloe said she likes that the course gives her real world experience.

She added: ‘I would definitely encourage others to take this course as it’s much more exciting and interesting than regular A-levels.

‘It also gives you work experience in a real workplace which looks great on a CV and makes you more employable in the future.’

The course also gave Chloe the chance to have a Zoom call with an AI expert in Seattle to give an idea of one of the exciting career paths in the digital sector.

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Chloe’s teacher, Nicolette Dryden, completed a degree in computer science in the 1980s and has continued to see mainly men interested in these topics throughout her life.

She is delighted to have Chloe so passionate about the topic and doing so well as the only girl in her class this year.

Nicolette said: ‘It has been really fun teaching the new digital T-level.

‘We have taken a project-based learning approach, starting with small simple projects such as a 'food chat bot' that is based around apps such as 'Just Eat', then layering more theory and skills for the next project.

‘This way, students reinforce the fundamentals of software development at the same time as embedding new theory.

‘The industry placements and teaching staff's own industry experience helps students to relate their class activities to the real world.’

After completing her T-level, Chloe is hoping to move into a career in software development or coding.

Nicolette added: ‘It would be great to see more girls sign up for the digital T-level as there are many tech opportunities for young women.

‘Chloe is a great student and a good role model for girls considering a career in technology.’

Employers are able to claim a £1,000 cash boost for every T-level student they host on a high-quality industry placement, as part of a new incentive scheme designed to offer support to employers impacted by the pandemic.

They can claim for up to 20 students for the available T-level subject areas until July next year.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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