Department for Education (DfE) capital investment in Sunderland College will take its provision of technical qualifications to a new level with new T Level subjects in areas critical to the demand for skills.

The college, part of the Education Partnership North East (EPNE) group of colleges, has announced capital investment from the Department of Education’s T Level Capital Fund (TLCF).

The investment will establish new state-of-the-art facilities at the college’s Bede Campus and expand its T Level provision into media, broadcast and TV and radio production.

The TLCF grant will create new filming, editing and production workshops, enhancing what is already a modern media and broadcasting suite.

The workshops will be designed to look and feel like the working environments students would expect to encounter during T Level work placements. The equipment available to students will also be industry standard.

In its latest round of support, the DfE announced a total of £74m will support 86 T Level projects.

This new investment at Bede comes on top of £3m already provided by the Government to enhance T Level provision at the Durham Road campus.

Ellen Thinnesen OBE, Chief Executive of EPNE, said: “The design of our new facilities will focus on giving students industry style experience while at college, ensuring they develop the skills required to excel both on their industry placements and within their career choices after finishing their time with us.

“Students on new courses will also be able to utilise our fantastic T Level 360-degree immersive hub and Innovation Space, which is already being used by students to create ‘real-world’ digital environments in the safety of the college.

“What is particularly exciting about this new development is that, like our health provision, it aligns our skills strategy with future city-wide developments such as with Fulwell 73, an acclaimed independent production company, who have located its new UK office in Sunderland.

“Fulwell 73 is responsible for productions such as Sunderland Til I Die and the recent Friends Reunion.

“Meanwhile, the BBC recently announced a new £25m investment in the region. The BBC plans to produce a new daytime TV show here, as well as building on the success of shows already filmed in the region and making Newcastle the corporation’s new city of comedy.

“The corporation has also signed an agreement with the region’s 12 councils to work more closely with them to invest in the region’s media production industry – so you can see why we were so interested in developing media T Levels in the city – the potential of the sector in the city and wider region is enormous.

“T Levels are becoming the gold standard of education in the UK and this exciting investment will keep Sunderland College ahead of the curve in our delivery.”

Toni Rhodes, Principal Sunderland College said: “This is a significant opportunity for us to be able to invest in an area that is becoming so important within the region, our students will not only receive an excellent high standard qualification but with that will have access to some of the best facilities to learn in.”

T Levels are new technical study programmes that sit alongside apprenticeships within a reformed skills training system.

Eighty per cent of the new qualification is taught in the classroom, with 20 per cent delivered in a work placement.

The reforms are at the heart of a skills partnership between government, business, and education providers – a partnership that will create the skills revolution needed to meet the needs of the economy.

EPNE also revealed further major TLCF investment in its Kirkley Hall Campus at Northumberland College and a large allocation for an exciting refurbishment at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.