New Tech Levels have been added to the curriculum this school year with the aim of tackling the UK’s IT skills gap, after a report in 2011 – the brilliantly named Wolf Report – which said that many vocational courses were failing to help school leavers’ career prospects.
Employers and professional bodies such as Siemens, Microsoft, Toshiba and the Chartered Institute of Marketing, helped to design, structure and assess the new qualifications, with a hope of creating Tech Levels that meet standards expected out there in the tech job market.
The courses are available to 16-19-year-olds in the UK and carry UCAS points ranging up to 280 points for the top grade. This allows those who sit the exams to go on to university, or head straight into employment or apprenticeships.
Although they’re all a great way to get into your ideal career, these are the ones we think really stand out.
Video Games Art & Design
Starting in September 2016, this is aimed at 16-18-year-olds who want to pursue a career in the video games industry, focussing on how games businesses work; 2D games art, techniques and processes; 3D modelling and environment art; why we play games; essential drawing skills – composition, perspective, masking, colour theory; animation and visual effects.
Mechatronics is the interface between mechanical and electrical engineering and the use of programmable computers and control systems.
This Tech Level is aimed at 16-18-year-olds who want to move towards becoming a mechatronics technician and/or engineer. It focuses on: the use of maths in engineering; mechanical engineering systems and components; the design and construction of a mechatronic control system; the process of engineering design; designing programs to drive engineering systems.
Starting in September 2016, this is aimed at 16-18-year-old learners who want to move into junior cyber security job roles, or carry on studying similar cyber and IT subjects at a higher level.
Students will learn about: how devices communicate, focusing on both physical transmission methods and the media they use; designing and developing a simple computer network; the identification and resolution of a range of threats and vulnerabilities.
This qualification is approved by the Engineering Council as contributing to the requirements for professional registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech).
Students are taught topics such as: the process of engineering design; the use of maths to model and solve problems; mechanical engineering systems and components; the use of 3D parametric modelling software; the systematic approaches to design such as design for manufacture (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA).
Examples of potential career opportunities are Design engineer, Development engineer, Ergonomist, Research and development engineer, Product development engineer, Product design engineer, and Integrated circuit design engineer.
Image credit © Marco Verch