UK industry hails first T-Level successes

Employers and educationists in the UK have welcomed the success of the first cohort completing T-levels, a new scheme aimed at preparing students for the skills industries so badly needs.

UK industry hails first T-Level successes
Results for T-levels were announced on Thursday, the same day as this year's A-level performances were revealed. They showed that 92.2% of 1,029 T-level students passed their courses, with 31.9% doing so with distinction.

This first ever group of pupils taking the two-year courses, which are taken after GCSEs and are roughly equivalent to three A-Levels, underwent practical and knowledge-based learning at a school or college and on-the-job experience via an industry placement of at least 315 hours.

The cohort getting their results this month had the choice of only three courses: design, surveying and planning for construction; digital production, design and development; and education and childcare. A further 13 subjects, including engineering and manufacturing, finance, creative & design, and legal will be introduced between next month and September 2023.

First year success for T-levels

A government spokesman said many of the first cohort had already secured their first job or an apprenticeship, and that 370 of the students (71% of those who applied) had so far won places on university courses.

David Phillips, managing director at City & Guilds, a skills development and qualifications organisation, said: “As the UK battles against skills shortages, a cost-of-living crisis and with a potential recession on the horizon, it’s more important than ever that young people make informed decisions about their futures.

“While university is the right path for some, it’s certainly not the only option. Our recent 'Great Jobs' research shone a light on the essential jobs and meaningful careers that make up 50% of all UK employment opportunities – many of which rely on vocational routes such as traineeships, apprenticeships and T-levels."

Zac Aldridge, director of qualifications at NCFE, the country’s largest T-levels provider, described the first results as "a hugely important day" after years of work to strengthen the options available to young people and to tackle the widening skills gap.

“We’ve seen first-hand just how much students – and employers – can gain from T-levels, and we’re incredibly proud of this first cohort as they receive their results, particularly given the challenges posed by the pandemic," he said.

T-levels gave a positive experience for all students

Robert West, head of education and skills policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said that while surveys had shown that T-level students felt particularly positive about their experience, "there is much work to be done to raise awareness of T-levels, especially amongst employers".

He added: “Raising understanding of T-levels amongst young people and their parents is crucial. Given concerns about the availability of work placements required to complete T-levels, awareness amongst companies who may offer placements for T-levels must also be improved.”

Jenny Jarvis, interim CEO at the Education and Training Foundation, described the T-level results as a vote of confidence in the new qualifications, highlighting the potential they had for upskilling the future workforce and providing the technical skills that are in such high demand across the economy.

"Equipped with the technical skills and industry experience they have acquired through studying for their course, T-level students will now go on to employment, apprenticeships, or higher education," she said.

"With additional T-level courses starting in September, future cohorts will continue to fill the country’s existing technical skills gaps."

Education Secretary James Cleverly commented: “Today is a really exciting time for our pioneering T-level students, as the first ever group to take this qualification will pick up their results. I have no doubt they will be the first of many and embark on successful careers.”
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