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What are T-levels?

T-levels are a new two-year technical programme, aimed at 16 to 18-year-old learners, which includes a qualification that can be taught in a classroom, workshop or simulated work environment.

They have been created to deliver the skills needed to meet the needs of employers and the wider economy, in collaboration with the Department for Education (DfE), the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA), education providers and employers.

Students completing and attaining T-levels will be able to progress to skilled employment or technical education and training at Levels 4, 5 and 6. Progression options will include higher and degree level apprenticeships or higher technical education.

T-levels will be introduced over three years. The first T-levels will be introduced in September 2020 with full rollout intended from September 2023.

T-levels will be available in these industries:

  • agriculture, environment and animal care    
  • business and administration
  • catering and hospitality        
  • childcare and education       
  • construction              
  • creative and design
  • digital           
  • hair and beauty
  • health and science
  • legal, finance and accounting 

What’s included in a T-level? 

T-levels will offer learners mainly classroom-based learning over two years but also include a significant work placement of up to 50 working days, as well as English and Maths education.

Technical qualifications

The content of the technical qualification will have a core knowledge element, which most people entering a sector will need to know. This will be followed by specialist skills for the chosen industry or occupation and will be delivered in a ‘classroom-based’ environment, plus a work placement.

The work placement must be contain meaningful work with an employer and will last between 45 and 60 days.

The DfE will confirm how work placements will be delivered, and review and confirm proposed target standards for work placements, once the first programmes are complete.

Will T-levels work with other Level 3 qualifications?

T-levels will be one of three options, alongside apprenticeships and A'levels.

T-level programmes will comprise of 1,800 hours of learning and will be high quality. They will be equivalent in size to a three-‘A’-level programme. This is a significant learning programme. Where timetables allow, students can also study a further A-level alongside their T-level.  

The DfE has committed additional funding specifically for T-levels, recognising that students will study for longer than existing technical programmes.