Doug Heckman, Head of Further Education for Labour Market Insight specialists, Emsi.

During the recent Annual Apprenticeship Conference in Birmingham, I picked up three major points about T-Levels.

  1. Number one, everybody is talking about them.
  2. Number two, in the midst of all the other changes going on, people generally don’t want to have to think about them right now.
  3. And number three, most people are at a loss to know how they can prepare for them.

Yet the Government is adamant that they are going to happen. In his recent Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed £500million of funding towards them, and that they would be introduced from Autumn 2019.

In other words, here we have a problem that education providers could really do without, on top of everything else they’re currently having to deal with, and yet not dealing with it is not an option.

But how can education providers start to prepare for their introduction? As with any problem that needs a solution, the best place to begin is by asking a straightforward Why question: Why has the Government decided to introduce T-Levels?

The answer to this, according to the Post-16 Skills Plan, is that they are intended to create:

“A dynamic, high-quality technical option, which is grounded in engagement with employers, fits soundly with the rest of the system and is responsive to the changing needs of the economy.”

The fundamental point about T-Levels is therefore that they should reflect the specific demands of local employers and regional economies. This means that simply introducing T-Levels without first identifying whether they are needed would defeat the object and ensure they fail to produce the skills that employers really need. But after asking the why question, the next question to ask is how can we ensure that they do achieve their purpose?

The answer is to first map the 15 T-Level career routes to occupations. For instance, if we were to look at the Digital route, the occupations it relates to are as follows: IT operations technicians; IT user support technicians; Web design and development professionals; Telecommunications engineers; IT engineers; and TV, video and audio engineers.

Having done this, we can then group them together and map them to our labour market data for any area of the country, either at LEP region level, County/Unitary Authority Level, or even down to Local Authority Level. The purpose of this is to establish the level of demand for T-levels in that route.

For instance, the following graph shows a comparison of annual openings for three T-level routes in the Solent LEP Region from 2016-2021:

T-Level Comparison

In addition, we can look at the variations in demand for each of the individual occupations within each route.

For instance, the graph below shows the breakdown of occupations within the Digital T-Level route in the Solent LEP region:

Digital occupations

What this approach means is that that any education provider in the country can establish the level of demand for each of the T-Level routes in their region (one group of colleges is already taking this approach, which you can read about here).

This then means that providers are well placed to align their T-Level curriculum with the needs of local employers and the regional economy, which can be achieved by a gap analysis mapping courses to demand.

T-Levels are definitely on the Government’s radar, even if they are not yet on the radar of many education providers. Preparing for their introduction is therefore a necessity, rather than a luxury.

Doug Heckman, Head of Further Education for Labour Market Insight specialists, Emsi.

Find Resources here for providers delivering industry placements with capacity and delivery funding.

T Level Resources

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 7 hours 55 minutes ago

Zoom in on Apprenticeships

Georgia chats with Victoria Gage, Careers Hub Lead at Devon County Council.

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 7 hours 57 minutes ago

Future Skills Centre

Welcome to the Future Skills Centre. A fully refurbished venue operated by Exeter College in partnership with Devon County Council, the Future...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 7 hours 57 minutes ago

Activate Learning students are chosen to appear in nationwide showcase: Activate Learning (@Activate_Learn) is exci…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page