EDUCATION is entering a new era as a students’ learning is tailored to the specific needs of a modern world, business leaders heard.

Placements, apprenticeships and professional qualifications are helping employers meet the skills gaps and prepare for the future, a business conference hosted by Darlington College was told.

Darlington College’s marketing and engagement manager Claire Turner told delegates: “We are entering a new era in education where the skills are specific to the job role and tailored to a particular organisation.

“We have been piloting T-Level industrial placements, with a 100 students last year benefiting from 45 day placements, which have given them the opportunity to thrive and flourish, some moving on to apprenticeships with the employer, after demonstrating a true passion for the business.”

Darlington College’s assistant principal Mike Chapman added: “We are also looking at retraining people into the new jobs which are being created and providing them with the opportunity to develop their skills with a range of professional qualifications and access to higher education. This is resulting in an injection of fresh ideas, innovation and higher levels of productivity.

“Darlington College is top in the Tees Valley for student outcomes and sixth in the country. Our students are motivated and engaged and are making a real difference to UK businesses.”

Department for International Trade advisor Jonathan Gamblin urged employers to consider the benefits of export.

“It is not just goods that can be exported it is services too,” he said. “If you trade internationally it also makes you more attractive as a potential employer and helps wins business at home.”

The event was part of Darlington Business Week, which was organised by Darlington Borough Council’s Business Support Team.

Darlington Borough Council’s business, growth and investment officer Sarah Travis endorsed the borough as being a great place to live, work and do business.

She said, as a top 10 performing economy, there were plans to make Darlington even more vibrant in the future around developments at Morton Park, Faverdale, Central Park, Ingenium Park and the railway station. “We want to help companies start, succeed and grow,” she said.