With compulsory education now extended to the age of 18, the Government are preparing to expand the range of options available to school leavers. Apprenticeships are a key bridge from full-time education to the world of work and have been expanded greatly in recent years, including with the development of healthcare science apprenticeships at levels 2, 4 and 6. However, there is currently no middle ground between highly vocational apprenticeships and highly academic A Levels. Enter T Levels, a new kind of two-year technical qualification specifically aimed at giving students the knowledge and skills that employers say will allow them to hit the ground running in the world of work. The Department for Education has produced a short animation to introduce the new qualifications which you can view here.
T Levels will be phased in from September 2020 in a wide variety of disciplines from engineering and construction to catering and hospitality. Plans are well underway for a ‘Health and Science’ T Level which could lead into either further study through a degree-level apprenticeship or healthcare science degree or straight into healthcare science roles within the NHS. This T Level will provide students with clinical knowledge and practical skills specific to healthcare science through a mix of classroom and work-based learning as well as a placement lasting at least 45 days. It is anticipated that T Levels will be equivalent to three full A Levels, putting holders of the qualification on a par with their peers who chose a more academic post-16 route.
To facilitate the development of T Levels, the Department for Education are engaging with employers and the wider workforce in each industry on a number of topics. Throughout November, they will be hosting a series of roundtables to flesh out the detail of the industry placement component of the Health and Science qualification and establish what a ‘meaningful’ placement should look like. The Department is eager to involve a wide range of stakeholders from employers, professional bodies and the workforce. The feedback captured during these roundtables will inform the Government’s specific policies relating to placements for the Health and Science T Level.
Two roundtables have been organised for Thursday 1st November and Friday 23rd November; both sessions will run from 1:30pm to 3:30pm at the Department’s office on Great Smith Street in London. An additional roundtable is planned for Tuesday 6th November in Sheffield; the exact time and location of this session are yet to be confirmed. If you are interested in attending a roundtable, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact details and which session you wish to attend. Spaces are limited so make sure you contact the Department as soon as possible if you want to feed into this process.