From education to employment

T Levels and Awarding Organisations – Procurement Documents

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton

DfE today (23 Jul) share the draft procurement documents with awarding organisations in advance of the launch of the wave 1 T Level procurement.

DfE held two engagement events in June with the sector on the key commercial principles underpinning this competition, and supporting bidders to prepare high quality bids.

DfE have listened to feedback from AOs on the development of T Levels and the procurement, and the suite of documents being published includes a number of changes to contract length, price indexation, the payment of development costs and co-branding in response to points raised at previous market events.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

“Introducing T Levels is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the way technical education works for young people. We want there to be more than one route to a successful career.

“To protect the gold standard of T Levels, one awarding body will be responsible for delivering each T Level subject. We have been clear about this since 2016 and believe it is vital to making sure the first T Levels are a success. We want T Levels to be a valued qualification recognisable by employers.

“We want to select the awarding organisation with the right vision, to get the best for the young people taking T Levels.

“We have always taken a collaborative approach to developing T Levels and have been in regular contact with the sector about this procurement. We held two engagement events in June about the competition and provided advice on preparing high-quality bids. Today we are also sharing the draft procurement documents to give awarding organisations a genuine opportunity to influence how the procurement works.   

”We will continue to work in an open,  transparent and constructive way so we can introduce the first three T Levels from September 2020.

“I am delighted so many awarding organisations are working with us to truly transform technical education is this country.”

tom bewick100x100Tom Bewick, Chief Executive, Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), said:

“It is encouraging to see the DfE has taken on board a number of issues raised by FAB and our members in the draft ITT. These include allowing awarding organisations to co-brand student and employer facing materials, something they said was impossible at the market engagement events. Similarly, intellectual property that goes into the TQ element will be allowed to be used abroad separate from the T-Level programme. This addresses some of the concerns we raised about the damage that could be caused to the export potential of awarding body expertise post-Brexit. 

“We note the inclusion of consortia arrangements being made more explicit in the ITT and that government will allow them to deliver T-Levels, provided they are licensed as a single entity. We in fact put this idea to government. The main problem however with making such a proposal work in practice is that the government’s unrealistic procurement timescales will make it nigh impossible to put appropriate consortia arrangements together in time for Wave 1. 

“What we need from Ministers is acknowledgement of the need for a more proactive approach on consortia models, working closely with the industry, to encourage the sector to come forward with real workable arrangements.”

“FAB will not be making any further comments on our pre-action legal challenge at this time.” 

DfE will be hosting two days of surgeries with the supplier sector while the draft ITT is available to them; this is an opportunity for AOs to seek clarifications and ask questions. DfE will use their feedback to make any necessary revisions to deliver a robust procurement.  Please email DfE to book your slot.

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