man writes on whiteboard

What are T levels?

T-levels will have at least 900 teaching hours – more than double other technical programmes – and include compulsory work placements.

What are T levels?

man writing on a whiteboard

T levels are a new set of technical qualifications.  

The new T levels were first announced in the 2017 budget as a vocational alternative to A levels. They’ll be launched in 15 industry areas where a lot of technical training is required before employment – including construction, creative design, health and science, and engineering. The 2-year courses will have at least 900 teaching hours – more than double the amount for other technical programmes – and include compulsory work placements of at least 45 days. 

The T levels are designed to boost technical skills in the UK. ‘T levels will ensure thousands of people across the country have the skills we need to compete globally – a vital part of our modern industrial strategy.’ Theresa May said. They’ll give young people a strong foundation and equip them with the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. 

T levels will become 1 of the 3 main options for students when they reach 16. We already have apprenticeships for learning occupational skills on the job, and A levels for students who want to go to university. T levels will bridge the gap as students who complete T levels will be able to progress to skilled employment, degree apprenticeships or technical degrees.  

Who’s developing the T levels?  

Like apprenticeships, the T level standards are being developed by the Department for Education, the Institute for Apprenticeships, education providers and employer-led panels to make sure they include all the skills needed for that occupation. In fact, many T levels and apprenticeships will be based on the same set of standards, with some content changed as apprenticeships are mainly delivered in the workplace, but T levels will be mainly delivered in the classroom. 

Will they be ready by 2020?  

The courses in construction, digital, and education and childcare will be ready to deliver in September 2020. 22 additional courses will be rolled out in stages from 2021.  

When the T levels are rolled out, a large amount of work placements will need to be arranged with employers, which is causing some concern across the sector. Many people are worried that there just won’t be enough high-quality placements for 1000s of students completing T levels every year, and think employers should be given funding to set up and maintain these placements.  


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