What will the new T-Levels mean?

This month, the first students will embark on one of three new T-Level courses at selected colleges, schools and other providers across England.

T-Levels are central to the Government’s plans to improve technical and vocational education and address the skills gap. With content designed by more than 250 employers, these new high-quality technical qualifications follow GCSEs and will deliver a pipeline of young people with the skills, knowledge and workplace experience that businesses need.

These rigorous 2-year courses are based on the world’s best technical education systems and combine classroom learning with a substantial industry placement. Each T-Level is equivalent to three A-Levels and attracts UCAS points offering graduates the opportunity of moving into a job, an apprenticeship or continuing to further study.

The industry placement, lasting at least 45 days, is unique to T-Levels and allows students to put the knowledge and skills they have learned into practice. It is also an opportunity to try out their chosen industry and gain experience in the workplace. For employers, they offer the chance to bring in fresh ideas and to spot and nurture early talent.

T-Levels in action

To get an idea of how T-Levels will transform education, we spoke to Ruth Coyle, Director of Learning, and Sixth Form at La Retraite RC Girls School.

Why did you decide to start offering T-Levels?

“In order to enhance social mobility we wanted our students to have state of the art facilities and engage with employers, giving them a distinct advantage over other learners. What appealed about the T-Levels is that they are written by employers and are designed to give students the skills required for the workplace. 

This qualification will prepare students for the future job market and address local skill shortages. We are currently offering the Digital, and Childcare and Education T-Level, and in the future we’ll also offer Construction, Health Midwifery, and Media. 

Engaging employers 

Our most effective way of engaging employers with the 315 hour placement aspect was through the teacher placements. Prior to starting the course all teachers took part in a 3-day industry placement, and the employers have been involved in developing the curriculum.

The most impactful placement was for our partner charity Trinity Hospice. Students were able to demonstrate their up to date social media content skills in this area, exceeding those in the organisation currently, which shows that the students are really able to add value.

If employers want to support students to prepare for their placements, they can engage with the curriculum and apply this to the workplace projects they set for them. 

How T-Levels benefit employers

The T-Levels mean that students will be familiar with the requirements of the workforce, and already able to work independently, using their own initiative to add value to the workplace. 

One tip for employers supporting schools

Employers can work in partnership with the schools, identify their skills shortages, and support schools to develop those skills in their students.”

Stephanie Warren, Head of Early Careers at MyKindaFuture added:

“T-Levels are coming into practice at an incredibly significant time. Youth unemployment continues to rise and formal education in schools is being interrupted by the threat of another lockdown. MyKindaFuture firmly believes that T-Levels are one way in which we can support young people to become more work ready in this increasingly unstable work context. We need individuals entering the job market with the skills that employers covet and T-Levels enable students to gain a vast array of employability skills which will enable them to prosper in the changing world of work.”

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