What Are T Levels and How Can They Help My Business?

15 Apr 2019

Published in: Blog

What is the T Level, what does it mean for the industry and how can you prepare? Find out in the latest Chamber blog.

The T Level What is it?

The T Level, or Technical Level, is the government’s flagship policy change to technical education. Aimed at simplifying the incredibly complex technical education landscape and set to be rolled out in 2020, the T Level will mix 80% classroom-based training with a 45-day ‘industrial placement’. Students will take the T Level option after completing their GCSE’s, with the T Level set to be worth the equivalent of 3-A Levels.


In terms of other post-16 options, the government states that ‘T Levels will become one of the main choices for students after GCSE alongside:’

• apprenticeships for students who wish to learn a specific occupation ‘on the job’ •

A levels for students who wish to continue academic education


The T Level may also include a ‘Transition Year’, whereby a student who does not feel ready to start a T Level at age 16, can realistically expect to finish one by age 19. From the DfE’s own website, they state ‘We are developing a transition offer which will be focused on providing effective preparation for students to complete a T Level. It will be targeted at young people who are not ready to start a T Level.’


What does it mean for industry?

The role of industry is quite clear. Employers will be asked to facilitate a 45-day industrial placement for learners, where technical skills will be developed. In a recent document released by the DfE, government states ‘Providers should pay for/contribute to travel and subsistence cost, if not covered by the employer. Employers are not expected to pay students.


From the government’s own website:

•It will be a mandatory requirement and students will not be able to complete the T Level qualification without having completed an industry placement;

• The students are likely to undertake the placement in the second year of their course, to ensure they have gathered basic skills and knowledge in their subject area;

• Students will also have undergone preparation to ensure they are ready to go on their placement; Employers will be able to decide whether to pay the learner and how much you would pay them;

• Employers will have a named contact at the learning provider whom you can contact to discuss any issues or queries. Clearly, FE will receive the bulk of the funding from government. There is no concrete detail yet as to how much financial support employers will receive yet.


In terms of support for training providers, the following slide breaks down the funding and support:


What can I do to prepare?

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and National Apprenticeship Service (part of ESFA) will work with employers and providers on industry placements. Employers interested in finding out more about industry placements, can contact 08000 150 600 or email tlevel.placement@education.gov.uk


Subscribe to the Chamber’s Skills Bulletin and keep your eye on our social media platforms. We started our engagement back in January 2018, by hosting Sue Clarke, from the T Level Planning Department at the DfE. Sue spoke at our Baggies Breakfast event and we have since been discussing the introduction of the T Level with many of our members.


The feedback we receive from members is mixed. Many of our members have not heard of the T Level. This is worrying, as industry is set to play a huge role in the success of the qualification. We will be upping our engagement with the DfE and relevant organisations to ensure that our members are prepared for this change to technical education. 


Written by Black Country Chamber Policy Officer, Daniel Turner

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