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Comment #6

07 January, 2020

The new T levels are due to be introduced in engineering and manufacturing in 2022 and are intended to place technical qualifications as an equivalent to A levels.

The aim is to simplify the landscape for vocational qualifications and provide a route into skilled employment after two years’ study. They will be made up of five key elements and include mandatory work placements.

However, our latest survey shows that whilst Industry is behind the introduction of T levels almost two thirds of companies hadn’t heard of them whilst more than a quarter had heard of them but with only limited knowledge. Furthermore two fifths of companies are unaware of what is required of them when it comes to providing work placements though given the overall lack of awareness this is unsurprising.

The survey does show that manufacturers are willing to step up and offer work placements with one third prepared to offer them in their current form and a further fifth prepared to do so if they were more flexible.

However, with all the other issues that companies are facing, in particular Brexit, many companies feared having the capacity to manage work placements, especially as they wouldn’t have the time given they are already managing young people through schemes such as internships and work experience. 

Industry supports the introduction of T levels which have the potential to boost technical education and create a credible vocational education route for young people and deliver the practical and technical skills industry so desperately needs.

However, there is no doubt the introduction of T levels is another fundamental change to our education system which has been subject to constant chop and change, often leaving employers bemused. Currently, there is a worrying lack of awareness amongst industry with low levels of knowledge even amongst those who have heard of them.

To avoid a sense of deja vous with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which was rushed in without proper consultation, Government must now continue to work more closely with business groups to boost significantly awareness throughout industry. Otherwise, the programme is at risk of failing if employers aren’t aware or on board, particularly when it comes to offering mandatory work placements.

*First published in PWE Magazine https://pwemag.co.uk/ 




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