What are T Levels?

T Levels were launched in September 2020 and were developed in collaboration with employers and businesses to meet industry needs.

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There has been a lot of talk lately about T levels, the new technical based qualification for 16-18 year olds.  T Levels were launched in September 2020 and were developed in collaboration with employers and businesses to meet industry needs.  All the hype surrounding T Levels got us thinking:

What exactly are T Levels? 

Which T Levels are currently available?

How will T Levels benefit employers and staff? 

What are T Levels?

T Levels are a new technical qualification offered to students once they finish their GCSEs.  They are 2 years in duration and equivalent in status to 3 A Levels.  T Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days).

T Level courses include the following compulsory elements:

  • A technical qualification, which includes:
    • Core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area.
    • Specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career.
  • An industry placement with an employer.
  • A minimum standard in maths and English if students have not already achieved them.

Which T Levels are currently available?

The first 3 T Levels are now available at selected colleges, schools and other providers across England.  These are:

  1. Design, surveying and planning for construction
  2. Digital production, design and development
  3. Education and childcare

A further 7 T Levels will be available from September 2021 with the remaining courses starting in either 2022 or 2023.  201 providers will be offering T Levels by 2022 and many more are expected to deliver T Levels in the future.

How can providers start delivering T Levels?

The first step for any provider looking to deliver T Levels is to submit an expression of interest to the Institute of Apprenticeship and Education.  More information about this can be found on the government website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/t-levels-next-steps-for-providers).

Those delivering T Levels will receive support from the Assocation of Colleges.  Providers delivering T Levels for the first time between 2020 and 2022 will also receive a one-off payment.  The additional funding for early adopters delivering in the 2021/2022 academic year will consist of:

  • £30,000 per new T Level being delivered for the first time in 2021 to 2022.  A provider delivering 1 new T Level for the first time will be allocated £30,000, and if delivering 10 would be allocated up to £300,000.
  • £20,000 per provider delivering the T Level Transition Programme for the first time in 2021 to 2022 for the purpose of development.

It should be noted that this funding will be paid in 2 amounts.  Providers are required to complete all actions detailed in the requirements of Early Adopter Development Fund (EADF) and if these are not completed the department reserves the right not to pay the final EADF instalment and may seek to recover any EADF already paid. 

How can T Levels benefit employers?

They provide a solution for entry-level jobs

Industry placements are an ideal solution for entry-level skills.  They can help build a pipeline of talent for both junior positions and apprenticeships. 

They offer a cost-effective channel for recruitment

Many of the costs associated with recruitment can be avoided by working with local colleges and schools to connect with young people who are deciding on their career path.  By bringing young talent into your business, you can develop and grow as a company.

They bring young people into industry

Bringing young learners into an industry provides an opportunity for both learners and the industry as a whole.  By helping young people to develop the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to succeed, the industry will benefit from bright new talent. 

How can T Levels benefit staff

They allow staff to manage and mentor skills

An industry placement may require staff to act as coaches or line managers.  This not only helps staff gain important management skills, but it also provides your team with an extra set of hands.  This, in turn, could help the company increase productivity and achieve an output that would not ordinarily have been possible. 

They bring new ideas

Young, enthusiastic learners can be an invaluable source of new and interesting ideas.  This is particularly true for smaller companies.

They create a community

Offering placements can help create opportunities for a diverse range of learners.  Bringing people together from different backgrounds can help create a unique culture and a real sense of community.

The Future

T Levels present an exciting prospect for both learners and training providers. With 3 T Levels being delivered this academic year, and 22 more on the way, there is an expectation that T Levels will play a big part in post-secondary education. 


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