T Level Programme

T Levels are two-year, technical programmes designed with employers, to give young people the skills that industries need. From September 2020, T Level programmes will give 16 to 18-year olds a technical alternative to A levels, with one T Level programme the equivalent to 3 A levels. 

From September 2020, Truro and Penwith College has offered T Levels, with programmes including Digital, Construction and Education and Childcare. 

T Levels are two-year, technical programmes designed with employers, to give young people the skills that industries need. From September 2020, T Level programmes will give 16 to 18-year olds a technical alternative to A levels. One T Level programme is the equivalent to 3 A levels. They will be taught full time in college and include an industry placement for a minimum of 45 days. T Level programmes will provide students with:

  • a broad knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary for employment in an occupation or industry related to their field of study.
  • an opportunity to develop specialist technical skills relevant to at least one occupation.

They will also include relevant maths, English and digital skills and provide a progression pathway to skilled employment, higher or degree level apprenticeships and higher-level education.

In Cornwall, Truro & Penwith College will be offering the first three T Levels from September 2020.





T Level programme structure

A T Level programme is expected to take students around 1,800 hours over two years to complete, including the industry placement. T Level panels have drawn occupational maps for T Level programmes to align with skills, behaviours and core competencies required for industry roles. They will also outline career pathways for progression after completion of T Level programmes. You can view the outline content here for all 13 T Level pathways.



When will T Levels start?

Digital, Construction and Education and Childcare T Level programmes launch in September 2020 and pilots have already taking place for these subjects. Health and Science T level programmes will follow in autumn 2021.



Industry placements

T Levels must contain an industry placement with an employer. These will be for a minimum of 45 days. Pilots started in September 2017 to identify the best way to roll out placements for employers and learners. The learning from the pilot has determined that industry placements can be deliverable in a number of ways. For example, the placement could be a continuous block of working days, distributed across the T Level programme or hosted by 2 employers for a better-quality experience. For more information see the Government’s guidance pages on Industry Placements.  You can also read more on the industry placement policy about the delivery models and support available.

If your business can offer a placement, you will be supported by a local learning provider, at every stage of the process.  This will include assistance with the necessary paperwork, a careful planning process and support with designing the placement.  Student will also be given all the necessary support to access your and other employer’s placements.

The government have created some useful short videos on what students say, what employers say, and feedback on the courses. These provide an insight into T Level industry placements from the point of employers and students, which may support your decision of hosting placements.


Benefits of industry placements

  • Developing a cost-effective recruitment pipeline of talent for entry-level jobs, which could lead to higher and degree Apprenticeship development within your business.
  • Building the skills and capacity of your business
  • Extra resources for day-to-day projects, bringing in imaginative, new ideas
  • Gives your existing staff the opportunity to upskill in coaching and mentoring young people
  • Helps develop a more diverse and creative workforce
  • An opportunity to provide a positive experience for a young person

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) are responsible for providing advice on T Level industry placements to employers.  To find out more about how you can host industry placements email tlevel.placement@education.gov.uk or, if you prefer to keep it local, contact us at info@cioslep.com



How are T Levels different to apprenticeships?

T Levels will be hosted full time in colleges with students studying a broad occupational area before specialising and having the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an industry placement. As a general rule 80% of time will be spend in college and 20% on an industry placement.

Apprenticeships are employment with training, and apprentices specialise in one occupation as they learn on the job. They will do a smaller amount of off-the-job training, usually around 20 per cent.  For more information on Apprenticeships visit our Cornwall Apprenticeships website or email Cathie Kessell.

In time, T Levels will supersede many of the vocational and technical education qualifications currently offered to 16-18 year olds, and will become one of three main options for young people to consider, along with:

  • apprenticeships for students who wish to learn a specific occupation on the job.
  • A levels for students who wish to continue academic education.



As an Employer, how can I get ready for T Level programmes?

  1. Complete this expression of interest for an Industry Placement and return to info@cioslep.com.
  2. Start having conversations within your organisation about what T Levels are.
  3. Start planning for implementation – how will T Levels and Industry Placements fit into your workforce strategy?
  4. Speak to Truro and Penwith College about how you can be collaborating now to get ready.  Please contact the College’s Job Shop Coordinator on 01872 308258 for further details.
  5. Bookmark this page and review regularly for any updates or events.



Further reading & Links


Share with us any employer views, queries or questions you may have about T Levels with us at info@cioslep.com