T Levels – what are they?

   18 March 2019        Blogs

For years, employers have been calling for more vocational training in schools and further education. Now the government has introduced the T Level.

It’s a technical course that is an alternative to A Levels. Like A Levels, students will spend two years after completion of their GCSEs studying for the T Level, but unlike academic A Levels, T Level students will instead study one of a choice of vocational subjects.

There is still plenty of classroom work but the big difference is that each T Level will include at least 45 days on-the-job work placement with a participating employer.

T levels launching in September 2020

The new qualifications are coming in from September next year (2020). Successful participants will earn a single T Level, which the government says will be equivalent to three A Levels. The idea is that they will then go on either directly into skilled employment – quite possibly with the employer who provides them with work experience – or to further study.

Work experience or further study?

That further study could be in an academic environment (three A Levels will get you a university placement, so a truly equivalent qualification should offer the same). But it’s very likely that many students who have done well in the practical/academic mix of the T Level would go on to a higher apprenticeship. So it’s easy to see employers who have bought into the idea of apprenticeships as a great way to tackle the skills shortages in key industries doing the same with the T Level.

T Level are being designed on the same standards as apprenticeships

In fact, T Levels are being designed on the same standards as apprenticeships, and as with apprenticeships, employers are working with academic institutions to develop the first programmes.

The idea with the T Level is that it gives students an in-depth flavour of a particular industry or industries – at 1,800 hours total study time, they’re a bigger commitment than other technical qualifications – whereas apprenticeships are more likely to suit school-leavers who have a clear idea of the career they want to pursue.

The link between T Levels and career progression

As with apprenticeships, it’s important to put away assumptions about the kinds of careers that T Levels will support. There are already a large number of subject areas that will start coming on offer next autumn, including professional services such as accountancy and creative industries. Click here to visit the Gov.UK website and find out more about T Levels.

Subject areas

At Develop Training, we’re pleased to see subjects on the list that will potentially allow our customers in the utilities and construction sectors to provide vocational training to T Level students, as they already do with apprenticeships.

Here’s the current list of subject areas:

  • accountancy
  • agriculture, land management and production
  • animal care and management
  • building services engineering
  • catering
  • craft and design
  • cultural heritage and visitor attractions
  • design, development and control
  • design, surveying and planning
  • digital business services
  • digital production, design and development
  • digital support and services
  • education
  • financial
  • hair, beauty and aesthetics
  • health
  • healthcare science
  • human resources
  • legal
  • maintenance, installation and repair
  • management and administration
  • manufacturing and process
  • media, broadcast and production
  • onsite construction
  • science

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