What are T-Levels?
T Levels are new courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A levels. These 2-year courses, which launched September 2020, have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study. 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).
There are currently 10 T Levels available, with T Level Health introduced in September 2021.
T Levels are a new, 2-year qualification for 16 to 19 year olds. Designed with employers, each T-Level is equivalent to 3 A levels and helps young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace.
How T Levels have been developed
Employers and providers have been working together to develop each T Level, with support from DfE and the Institute. Groups of employers have defined the skills and requirements for each T Level course by participating in T Level panels. This ensures that students taking T Levels will develop the technical knowledge and skills required by employers in that industry.
How T Levels will work with other qualifications
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
We are currently reviewing post-GCSE qualifications to create a simpler, high-quality system that students, parents and employers will all understand. T Levels are based on the same standards as apprenticeships, designed by employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute). We expect the total time for a T Level to be around 1,800 hours over the 2 years, including the industry placement. This is a significant increase on most current technical education courses. This differs from an apprenticeship, which is typically 80% on-the-job and 20% in the classroom and is more suited to those who know what occupation they want to pursue, want to earn a wage and learn at the same time and are ready to enter the workforce at age 16.
Structure of a T Level
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
Every T Level includes an industry placement with an employer focused on developing the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These will last a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days) but can last longer. Employers can offer industry placements as a block, day release or a mix of these, and can discuss sharing part of the placement with another employer if necessary.
Providers will support employers offering industry placements. This will include assistance with the necessary paperwork, a careful planning process and support with designing the industry placement.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and National Apprenticeship Service (part of ESFA) are working with employers and providers on industry placements.