The Education column with East Riding College: Have you heard about T Levels?

East Riding College director Paul Smith.East Riding College director Paul Smith.
East Riding College director Paul Smith.
T Levels are a brand new qualification designed to give young people a head start in the world of work by giving them a technical qualification with a significant work placement component included.

They follow on from GCSEs and are the equivalent of three A-Levels. A substantial full-time two-year qualification, they bring ‘classroom’ learning and work placement together in one qualification and are designed alongside employers and businesses to ensure those who gain the qualification have the work-ready skills that employers are demanding.

T Levels were launched in September 2020 and have been rolled out at selected colleges. Early feedback from students has been positive and they have liked the combination of college study and practical experience in the workplace.

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The subject areas currently offered range from Construction and Digital Production to Education and Health.

In years to come over 20 T-levels are planned to be launched in a range of subject including Catering, Hair and Beauty, and Science.

East Riding College is amongst the first colleges to offer T Levels in the East Riding, offering T Levels in Digital, Engineering and Manufacturing, Education and Construction. Come along to an open event to find out more about the exciting courses that will be offered from September 2022.

The big difference with T Levels is the ‘industry placement’ which lasts around 45 days, undertaken as a block or as individual days.

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The specific length of the placement and when it will take place will differ depending on the T Level. This substantial work placement means that T levels are roughly the equivalent of 80% ‘classroom’ and 20% work placement.

This puts the qualification somewhere in between an apprenticeship and a vocational course such as a BTEC, although some vocational courses already include work placement components that make up a significant part of the qualification.

The college work with over 400 employers and are well placed to support learners in finding an employer that will meet their needs and those of the T Level. T Levels are ideal after your GCSEs if you want to get the knowledge plus some experience, to give you an advantage when applying for a skilled or technical job.

You can also use them to progress to higher-level study at college or university as like BTEC Extended Diplomas, they are the equivalent of three A-Levels. Or with work-ready skills, you could also progress onto a Higher Apprenticeship.

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T Levels will be a great option for some young people, providing another alternative to A-Levels that is their equivalent, but with a focus on technical skills.

An alternative to apprenticeships and vocational options, they play to the strengths of further education colleges, where education pathways already encompass skills development, technical delivery and work placements, and where the industry-standard equipment in the workshop or classroom can easily support the development of higher-level technical skills.

Designed alongside employers, T Levels have been developed to give students the skills they’ll need to thrive in the future jobs market in our region.