Launched in September of 2020, the T Level offers a practical alternative to the traditional A Level. A technical qualification equivalent to 3 A Levels, students benefit from a mixture of classroom based lessons and on the job experience, the courses included on the programme designed to meet the needs of our 21st century, post pandemic work force. Created in partnership with awarding organisation NCFE, 3 T Levels were made available from 2020 – Digital production, Design and Development/design, Surveying and Planning for Construction and Education and Childcare, with a further 7 launched in September of 2021 – Building Services Engineering for Construction/Digital business Services/Digital Support and Services/Health/Health Science/Onsite Construction/Science. The rest to be launched in 2022/2023, this including a course in craft and design. With some of the courses still currently being developed, NCFE’s Director of Qualifications and Assessment Zac Aldridge tells us more about designing the innovative courses!
Hi Zac, in your role at an awarding organisation who has developed several innovative T Level qualifications, as a technical equivalent to the A Level – how does it feel to be a part of this pioneering initiative?
These are flagship qualifications, unique in their blend of high-quality classroom learning with on the job experience. They are also unique in the way they are developed, hand in hand with employers to future proof the need of key sectors and provide learners with a host of vital skills for thriving and sustainable careers.
We were delighted to be selected by government to spearhead the development of so many T Levels, which are a growing part of the education landscape – it’s fantastic to see such a focus on vocational education and skills.
We feel we’re at the forefront of exciting change, giving young people quality options to consider so that they can choose the right route to take.
Being at the launch of T Levels in delivery as well as development also gives us great pride in the centres and learners who took the plunge and delivered the first T Levels. To have been able to watch them thrive over their first two-years has been inspiring.
Launched in September of 2020, the 2 year course mixes both ‘classroom’ and ‘on the job’ experience. It was and continues to still be developed in collaboration with employers and businesses to help ensure content meets the needs of industry. 3 T Levels were made available from 2020 – Digital production, Design and Development/design, Surveying and Planning for Construction and Education and Childcare, with a further 7 launched in September of 2021 – Building Services Engineering for Construction/Digital business Services/Digital Support and Services/Health/Health Science/Onsite Construction/Science. The rest are to be launched in 2022/2023. What has developing the craft and design course involved?
We’ve worked closely with a huge number of employers, household names, and specialists who have lent their expertise to shape the future of training in their industries, reviewing qualification detail and assessments, ensuring we have the skills we need for both now and the future.
Like all of our T Levels, employer involvement has been vital and the craft and design sector have been forthcoming in their desire to be involved. We have panels of experts and individual subject matter experts who work with our development teams to ensure our qualifications and suitable for their sector – and will allow learners to thrive.
From the courses that have launched, what has the feedback been like so far?
Currently nearly 500 T Level students have a live university application – a figure UCAS expects to rise through the remainder of the cycle. There are also 119 universities now accepting T Level pathways.
We’ve heard first hand from students undergoing T Levels who couldn’t be more complimentary about their experiences, all stating that they would thoroughly recommend their T Levels and the practical skills and valuable workplace experience that they’ve gained from them. Two of our students from a college in the north east have spoken at high profile events – ours and others – explaining why T Levels were the right course for them. They particularly like the industry placement, which allows them to spend a much longer time gaining work experience that on other courses – the taste for the roles available that they gained from their placements are invaluable for them.
The first cohort of T Level students will be finishing their courses this summer and we can’t wait to see what they choose to do next.
With the development process still ongoing for many courses including crafts and design, for any prospective students looking to pursue this educational avenue, what can they expect?
These two-year courses are designed with employers to intimately reflect the needs of the sectors and occupations they’re designed to serve.
After completing their two-year T Level, students will have the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviours to successfully progress into work or higher-level study.
1 T Level is equivalent to three A Levels and attract UCAS points.
All T Levels include a substantial industry placement, so support progression into skilled work.
The media, broadcast and production T Level will give students a route into a variety of careers within the sector – from studio sound engineer or lighting technician to TV or film producer or director.
The T Level will help students gain a knowledge of a broad range of issues relevant to the sector, including the creative economy, research skills, project methodology, cultural context, audience needs, conduct in the workplace, EDU and much more.
In addition to the core content, each student will also complete at least one module of occupation-specific content so they can focus in on what they enjoy.
What are your hopes for the T Levels moving forwards?
We are undeniably in the middle of an exciting period of transition in education. A core part of this change is the continued growth and success of T Levels as more pathways are rolled out, corresponding to the skills needs of the country.
Ultimately, this is about ensuring young people are equipped with the skills they need to fulfil their potential – and T Levels are already showing that they can do just that.
We would love to see T Levels grow in popularity and reputation and can’t wait to champion this next generation of world-class qualifications to ensure they are a long-term success.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
NCFE is encouraging anyone who’s interested to get in touch via their website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Your input can be provided remotely and flexibly to suit you. Be part of a once in a lifetime revolution in education which will impact and improve your industry.
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