T Levels are new courses coming in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and be equivalent to 3 A Levels. These 2-year courses will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience.
Industry placements are substantially longer than traditional work experience to enable young people to develop their confidence and technical skills relevant to their future career and employers the chance to ensure young people develop the skills, workplace behaviours and experience industry needs and a valuable way of supporting their talent pipeline.
‘One size doesn’t fit all’ was a conclusion from the Industry Placement Pilot 2017/18 (involving 21 providers, 1500 students & over 1000 employers) with a concern that young people will be unable to pass the T-level owing to a lack of local and lengthy placement opportunities.
This feedback has led to a series of additional models and approaches to be introduced including:
A single placement can now be split across two employers if needed and carried out as day release, one solid block, a multiple of smaller blocks or a mixture of any of these models; Placements are now to be formally recorded in hours (315 minimum, 350 expected average) accommodating industry practices, part time work or other commitments such as being a young carer; Short work taster activities of up to 35 hours to help students decide on an area to specialise in. These will count towards the total number of placement hours and can be used in addition to time spent with up to 2 other employers; On-site facilities can now be used for SEND students (105 hours) and young offenders (total hours); A student’s part-time job hours can now be counted towards placement hours (must be occupationally relevant).
T level providers in the South West and West Midlands regions already in receipt of CDF funding will be part of a £7 million pilot scheme in 2019/20 and able to provide grants to employers in order to set up industry placements to cover eligible costs, for example correctly sized safety equipment. If this might apply to you, the funding rules can be found here: Employer support fund for industry placements – pilot
If you are a provider or an employer who is thinking about offering a T level placement to a young student you might like to hear it from the horses mouth. The Department for Education has released 12 YouTube videos showing the benefits to both students and employers of meaningful industry placements: