Will T-Levels be a solution for the tech sector?

The first of the new T-Levels are due to go live in 2020, covering digital, construction, together with childcare and education. 8 further subject “routes” are due to follow in 2022. Designed specifically to raise the prestige for technical qualifications, they are positioned as being at the same level as A-Levels.

Originally announced in the budget last October, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said that the new T-Levels are intended to provide young people with a high-quality technical education which will be equal in stature to A-Levels. The DoE indicates that the educational system is on-track to commence teaching from September 2020.

Concerns, however, have been raised about the speed of the introduction of the new qualification. Sir Gerry Berragan, Chief Executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships, at the Ofqual conference for vocational education establishments in Birmingham has highlighted the need to understand what T-levels are, and how they fit into the technical education landscape.

The Department for Education admitted that it was an ambitious target to have the new qualifications in place by 2020, however, it remains confident that this can be accomplished in time. It is working closely with Ofqual and the IFA to make sure that the requisite changes are implemented.

The Government has also launched a T-Level consultation, which has highlighted a number of concerns regarding plans for the single awarding body and the ability of the Further Education sector to cope with the reforms. Further work is still to be completed to finalise the plans. However, employers have been assured that the new qualifications will make a positive difference to the sector.

It is claimed that there are a number of benefits with the new qualifications, replacing over 13,000 individual qualifications with just 15 and increasing the number of training hours in each qualification by around 50 percent.

This should certainly help employers to understand and to be able to compare, the qualifications of applicants. Many employers have stated in the past the difficulty of understanding how to compare the variety of different qualifications. This has made it difficult to determine which applicants are more highly qualified than others. It has been described as a ‘minefield’, requiring an understanding of NVQ, BTEC and OCR to name but a few.

It will, of course, take time for the new qualifications to be completed and for the new wave of prospective employees to come out at the other end of the curriculum. It remains to be seen whether employers will regard the qualifications as hitting the mark. Certainly for prospective managerial and senior staff recruitment, having qualifications specifically for the right sector and with the equivalent level of A-Levels seems to be a move in the right direction.

Ross Clifford & Associates are specialist recruiters for the Tech industry. If your organisation is facing hiring challenges in the tech sector and needs assistance with understanding current and planned qualifications, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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