Jennifer Coupland, Director, Professional & Technical Education, Higher and Further Education Directorate, Department for Education

Jennifer Coupland, Director, Professional & Technical Education, Higher and Further Education Directorate, Department for Education talks to FE News about T levels and Industry Placements, both were we are now, and plans for the future.

T Level Launch Event

Looking forward to teaching the first three T levels in September 2020, DfE recently held a launch event with the 54 providers who are going to be involved in the first wave of delivering:

  • Digital T levels
  • Construction T levels
  • Education T levels

Transition from Work Placements to Industry Placements

From the Government response to the T level consultation you can see that there has been a name change from Work Placements to Industry Placements.

The reasons for this are to make it clear that :

  1. T levels give a broad introduction into industry and the sectors that they have chosen to study in.
  2. T levels involve spending a significant time in industry, having the opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills and behaviours that have been learnt in the class room in a real work place environment.

Payment Policy around Industry Placements

An Industry Placement is part of a formal training course. As a formal training course, young people taking it are unwaged and do not qualify for things such as national minimum wage. However, some employers may want to pay young people taking a work placement with them, particularly to cover things such as transport costs and lunch money.

There is no legal reason why a young person should be paid for carrying out an Industry Placement. However, there will be no hard and fast rules, that could impact high quality Industry Placements, by placing restrictions on the amount an employer can compensate a young person for their cost considerations.

Making Industry Placements Flexible

Within a T level course there is a core subject, which is then complimented by a number of specialisms, depending on the route being studied. Ideally the Industry Placement will mirror the specialism being studied.

The Industry Placement policy is still in the development stage, part of this development is to ensure that sufficient flexibility is built into the Industry Placement that it will be able to meet the needs of the young person, the employer and the relevant sector.

DfE recently surveyed about 700 young people, who were convinced that it is the Industry Placements that are the unique selling point of the T level programme, but were also keen to have a degree of flexibility around the Industry Placements.

DfE had started off looking at the Industry Placement as a 3-month block, they are now being more flexible about how that might be delivered. Young people are keen to try different placements in different industries, to experience what it would be like to do a job in those particular circumstances. As this policy is firmed up, more details will be made available.

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£74m funding available now to start the development of Industry Placements

To get to the number and quality of Industry Placements that will be needed by 2020 is the biggest delivery challenge within the whole programme, and it is intensive business. 

To help providers build the capacity they will need to work with employers to get the right number of placements, and to make sure young people are supported whilst on the placement, DfE are helping providers gear up for that challenge by putting £74 million into the system for the 2018 to 2019 academic year.

As part of that programme providers will be starting to offer a small number of Industry Placements as part of their current vocational provision, to start to iron out some of the wrinkles and overcome challenges well ahead of the first T Level delivery.

Click the link below to hear Jennifer Coupland, Director, Professional & Technical Education, Higher and Further Education Directorate, Department for Education, speaks about T levels and Industry Placements at the AELP Summer Conference at the AELP's 2018 Summer Conference.

Jennifer Coupland, Director, Professional & Technical Education, Higher and Further Education Directorate, Department for Education, speaks about T levels and Industry Placements at the AELP Summer Conference

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