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T Levels – What are they and what do they mean to me?

T Levels will be an alternative qualification option for students after completing their GCSEs, the new courses will be equivalent to three A Levels. 

Each T Level is a two-year course and has been designed in collaboration with businesses and employers within different industries to prepare students for specific occupations. 

Each course is tailored to the needs of the job role and industry it covers, aiming to give students sector-based knowledge and prepare them for work. Progression to a higher apprenticeship or university is also an option; T Levels carry UCAS points.

  1. When are T Levels starting and where are they available?

September 2020 marks the introduction of T Level programmes, with 50 providers across the UK offering a selection of three different T Level courses. In 2020, these courses will include: 

  • Digital: digital production, design and development
  • Construction: design, surveying and planning
  • Education: childcare

Access Creative College is one of the first providers and will be offering the Digital production, design and development T Level course at its state of the art Manchester facility.

  1. Who are T Levels for?

Students who started year 10 in September 2018 will be the first year of pupils able to choose and study the new T Level courses and they will be available for all students after that. 

T Levels are for students who want to continue in education after GCSE level and are looking for a more vocational course and approach to learning. The programmes offer a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on the job’ experience with an industry placement of approximately 45 days.

  1. What subjects will be available as T Levels?

Technical Education will be offered across 15 routes, with 11 having T Level options:

  1. Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care
  2. Business and Administration
  3. Care Services (Apprenticeships only)
  4. Catering and Hospitality
  5. Construction
  6. Creative and Design
  7. Digital
  8. Education and Childcare
  9. Engineering and Manufacturing
  10. Hair and Beauty
  11. Health and Science
  12. Legal, Finance and Accounting
  13. Protective Services (Apprenticeships only)
  14. Sales, Marketing and Procurement (Apprenticeships only)
  15. Transport and Logistics (Apprenticeships only)
  16. Why are T Levels being introduced?

T Levels are being introduced to offer students another option after their GCSEs, where the choice has traditionally been either A Levels, vocational qualifications such as BTECs or apprenticeships. 

T Levels will be developed using Apprenticeship Standards, designed by employers and approved by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education. The expectation is that a T Level will be up to 1,800 hours over two years including a 45-day placement in the specific industry, a significant increase of hours to the current technical education courses. This differs from apprenticeships which are more suited to students who know the occupation they want to pursue and are ready for the world of work.

  1. What will a T Level course consist of?

T Level courses will include a technical qualification of core theory, concepts and skills for the industry and also specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation. 

Each student will undertake an industry placement with an employer for approximately 45 days of their course. All students will also have to achieve a minimum standard in maths and English if they haven’t already achieved them.

  1. For parents: Why should my child opt for a T-Level course?

There are many reasons why a T Level course could be the right choice for your child following their GCSEs and should be considered alongside A Levels and apprenticeships as an alternative next step in their education. 

T Levels will be available in subjects and industries that don’t traditionally fall into the academic A Level categories or aren’t widely available, opening up the options to achieve qualifications in more vocational or technical disciplines. 

A completed T Level course is the equivalent of three A Levels, however the courses will provide the theory and practical skills that are specific to the specific industry and chosen occupation making it hugely valuable when entering the workforce. 

Firms such as IBM and Fujitsu have been involved in developing the courses to make them relevant and current. They are credible qualifications, which will help students develop skills in demand by industry today.

T Levels will be a great option for students that want to combine study with work experience and are considering a career in a specific sector, where upon completion, they will be ready to work in their chosen field, or use the UCAS points to progress to a higher education course.

  1. For Schools: How to discuss T-Levels with your students

From September 2020, T Levels will be an alternative option for students to select following their GCSEs and will be the equivalent to three A Levels. 

T Levels will be suited to students looking for an option that combines theoretical study with hands on learning and could be described as a combination of A Levels and apprenticeships to provide a course that has elements of both. 

T Levels will be available in subjects and industries that don’t traditionally fall into the A Level categories or aren’t widely available, opening up the options to achieve qualifications in more vocational or technical disciplines. 

While the introduction of T Levels is September 2020, at this stage there will be three T Level programmes available with many more added over subsequent years. Keeping students up to date with future course options and availability dates will ensure they consider these as part of their options.

  1. How is Access Creative College involved?

Mark Compton, Access Creative College’s Director of Employability, Partnerships & Adult Learning has a remit to work with the Department for Education and other stakeholders on the implementation of the new T Level qualifications. He sits on a number of T Level panels including a group with responsibility for the development of content for the Media, Broadcast and Production qualification.

Access Creative College (ACC) is a pioneer in this area and has played a role in the way that the courses have been shaped with the needs of both the students and industry in mind.  It was one of 21 providers (and the only private provider) to take part in the work placement pilot for T Levels. It will offer the first delivery of the ‘T Level Transition Programme – TL2’, a course to help prepare young people who are not ready to start a T Level at age 16, but who can realistically be expected to complete a T Level by age 19.

ACC is one of only 50 providers to deliver the first T Level courses in 2020. ACC will cover Digital: Digital Production, Design & Development (Childcare, Construction are the other two routes to launch at this time).

As an organisation, through the Capacity & Delivery Fund, Access Creative College has invested in a team of Creative Industries Placement Officers, outward facing, who will work with employers to secure placements for learners and ensure Access Creative College is “T Level ready”.