We welcome the release of the Department for Education’s “Employer engagement and capacity to support T Level industry placements” report, which brings to light some of the challenges for employers in the delivery of T Level extended work placements.
Many of the findings mirror those in City & Guilds’ and AELP’s research on the issue, launched earlier this year. However, there are some key differences. Whilst we found that there was a promising degree of goodwill amongst employers in principle, if they are to deliver these work placements in anywhere near the numbers required, employers told us that the Government would need to offer significantly more support than indicated in this week’s report.
In particular, employers told us that they would require Government funding to deliver these 40–60-day placements; specific curricula to follow and ongoing Governmental advice and guidance.
The introduction of T Levels will bring about an enormous step change in the length and format of work placements, with the average currently being just one to two weeks long. This should not be underestimated during implementation. As well as presenting challenges for employers themselves, training providers and colleges will need to undertake significant re-organisation, training and possibly even additional recruitment to facilitate the implementation of the new work placements.
With Brexit on the horizon and employers struggling to recruit the skilled staff they need, quality technical education has never been more important to the future of UK Plc. T Levels have the potential to help improve the employability of young people and reduce skills gaps and shortages across the country, but only if they are given proper support and implemented correctly over a sustained period of time.
It's vital that the Government is clear in defining upfront how the success of T Levels will be measured; to date, this is not an aspect that has been widely discussed. If we are to make T Levels the long-term success we need them to be, investments must be made from the outset to define the new qualifications and ensure the right resources are in place for their implementation.
Kirstie Donnelly MBE - Managing Director of City & Guilds and ILM
Find Resources here for providers delivering industry placements with capacity and delivery funding.