Equivalent to three A-levels, T-levels are new courses starting in September 2021 that follow GCSEs and are designed in direct collaboration with employers and businesses so the content meets the needs of industry head-on.
These two-year courses offer students a mix of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience and provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.
Crucially, T-levels include an invaluable industry placement of at least 45 days – more than existing technical courses - to give students the best start to their career.
Across the UK, the Government is set to launch T-levels in the following subject areas (specific T-levels available at University College Birmingham will continue to be confirmed from 2021):
- Agriculture, land management and production
- Animal care and management
- Building services engineering
- Craft and design
- Cultural heritage and visitor attractions
- Design, development and control
- Design, surveying and planning
- Digital business services
- Digital production, design and development
- Digital support and services
- Hair, beauty and aesthetics
- Healthcare science
- Human resources
- Maintenance, installation and repair
- Management and administration
- Manufacturing and process
- Media, broadcast and production
- Onsite construction
Learn your way
T-levels bring classroom and industry placement together. You’ll spend about 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% in a workplace setting on your placement.
Backed by business
T-levels are backed by leading employers to give you the knowledge and skills for the career you want. More than 200 businesses, including Fujitsu and Skanska, have helped create them.
Pathway to university
Your T-level will be worth UCAS points – a T-level at Distinction* will attract the same number of points as 3 A Levels at A*, so you can progress to university should you wish to.
Qualification that counts
You will get a nationally-recognised certificate showing your overall grade when you pass your T-level, allowing you to progress into a skilled career, higher apprenticeship or university course.
T-levels – the essentials
When will they start?
The first three T-levels will be available at selected colleges and schools across England in September 2021, with more subjects offered in the years that follow.
The first T-level to be offered at University College Birmingham will be in Education.
Learners will study a core curriculum to give them an understanding of child development and how education works, plus important topics such as safeguarding and special educational needs.
They can then focus on one of these areas:
Early years education and childcare
Supporting and mentoring students in further and higher education
How T-levels will work with other post-16 choices
T-levels will become one of the main choices for students after GCSE alongside:
- Apprenticeships for learners who wish to learn a specific occupation ‘on the job’
- A-levels for learners who wish to continue academic education
- Other vocational qualifications
T-levels will be based on the same standards as apprenticeships, designed by employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute). Students will study over two years and will typically have 1,800 hours of tuition over those years, including their industry placement. This is a significant increase on most current technical education courses.
How T-levels are being developed
Employers and providers are working together to develop each T-level, with support from the Department for Education and the Institute. Groups of employers define the skills and requirements for each T-level course by participating in T-level panels. This ensures that students taking T-levels will develop the technical knowledge and skills required by employers in that industry.
Structure of a T-level
T-level courses will include the following compulsory elements:
- A technical qualification, which will include specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career
- Core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area
- An industry placement with an employer
- A minimum standard in maths and English if students have not already achieved them
Learners who pass all the elements of their T-level will get a nationally recognised qualification showing an overall grade of pass, merit or distinction. T-levels will primarily prepare students to move into a skilled job, but can also lead to further technical training, such as higher technical qualifications, higher apprenticeships or a degree. T-levels will be recognised by universities and will carry UCAS points.
T-levels will also set out the details of what students have achieved on their course including:
- An overall pass grade for the T-level, shown as pass, merit or distinction
- A separate grade for the occupational specialism, shown as pass, merit or distinction
- A separate grade for the core component, using A* to E
- Grades for maths and English qualifications
- Details of the industry placement
Watch a short video from the Department of Education to see how T-levels will work.