Industry placement delivery approaches

Industry placements are at the heart of T Levels. They should adhere to a set of core principles, although there is a wide range of delivery approaches which can be used if these core principles cannot be met. This page explains what these approaches are and where they can be applied.

The new delivery approaches were announced on 10th January 2023 to be used with immediate effect and supersede the previous flexibilities in place. The Wave 1 and Wave 2 temporary flexibilities remain in place until the end of the 2022/23 academic year.

Core principles

The core principles of industry placements have stayed the same since T Levels were first introduced in September 2020. They are:

  • The placement must be 100% in person, with an employer
  • It must take place in the workplace and be organised in line with the normal requirements of the industry
  • It must enable the student to develop up-to-date knowledge and skills relevant to their chosen T Level
  • Placements must last a minimum of 315 hours.

Delivery approaches

However, some approaches to delivering placements have been developed which differ from the core principles. The aim of these approaches is to make sure that as the number of students choosing T Levels grows, employers can continue to provide enough high-quality placements for all students across the country and in all industries.

The tables below provides a breakdown of each of the delivery approaches, and what they mean for employers. (Note: Some of the approaches are only allowed for a portion of a placement or for specific T Levels. Where this is applicable it is specified below)

 

Approaches allowed in all T Levels

Approach

What it means for employers

Work taster activities (up to 35 hours)

Allows employers to select students for a placement and give them a chance to experience the work and working environment before starting

Multiple employers (up to 2 employers)

Allows a student to split their placement hours between two employers, so that students spend less time in each organisation and experience a wider variety of work and working environments

T Level pathway placements

Allows employers to offer placements in a wide range of roles and working environments within their organisations, provided the work students do is relevant to their chosen T Level

Part time work relevant to the student’s T Level

Allows employers to use any time students spend doing part-time work as part of their placement, counting towards the placement hours, provided the work students do is relevant to the T Level

Small team projects (up to a third of placement hours)

Means that students develop skills in small teams or projects with their peers (supported by an employer or industry professional)

Supply chain and employer networks (lead employer + up to 2 partners or subcontractors)

Allows employers to collaborate with each other by arranging for students to spend part or all of their placement with partners or subcontractors in supply chains and networks

Special educational needs and disability (SEND) approach

Means that students prepare well for the working environment by spending time with their provider first, and spend less time on their placement in the employer’s workplace

Youth Offenders Institution approach

This approach doesn’t apply to employers other than YOIs. It allows students studying T Levels in young offender institutions (YOIs) and other custodial settings to undertake their placement in working environments within the institutions

 

See Download 1 for details of each approach.

Approaches allowed in specific T Levels

Approach

What it means for employers

Route level placements

Allows employers to offer placements in a wide range of roles and working environments within their organisations, provided the work students do is relevant to the sector or industries they want to work in

Skills hub and employer training centres (up to a third of placement hours)

Allows employers to arrange for students to spend some of their time on placement in a skills hub or training centre to improve their readiness for the real working environment

Hybrid (remote) placements (up to a fifth of placement hours)

Allows employers to arrange for students to spend some of their time on placement working remotely in a suitable environment

 

See Download 2 for details of each approach, including a list of T Levels to which each approach applies.

Comparisons with previous guidance

The different delivery approaches were introduced from September 2020 and set out in guidance published in May 2022. Guidance published in January 2023 confirms that most of these approaches still remain and some of them are extended to more T Level subjects. The tables below show how the two sets of guidance compare. This may help employers already delivering placements to see which approaches have changed and how.

 

Approaches allowed in all T Levels

January 2023 guidance

Compared to May 2022 guidance

Work taster activities 

No change

Multiple employers (up to 2)

No change

T Level pathway placements

Extended to all T Levels

Part time work relevant to the student’s T Level

No change

Small team projects (previously known as ‘commercial, charitable or community projects’)

Extended to all T Levels

Supply chain and employer networks

Extended to any T Levels where there are established supply chains and employer networks

Special educational needs and disability (SEND) approach

No change

Youth Offenders Institution approach

No change

 

Approaches allowed in specific T Levels

January 2023 guidance

Compared to May 2022 guidance

Route level placements

No change

Skills hub and employer training centres

Extended to more T Levels

Hybrid (remote) placements (previously known as ‘blended placements’)

Extended to more T Levels

 

The approaches are described in detail in the delivery guidance.

Examples

The short examples below show how employers use some of the approaches.

Approach

Example

Multiple employer

A small family-run café and a high-end restaurant in the same town host a shared placement for a student on a Catering T Level. The student’s specialist area is professional cookery. The café provides experience in food service and a basic understanding of how a kitchen runs. The restaurant is a much faster-paced, varied environment in which the student can develop high-level culinary skills. The placement time is split roughly one-third in the café and two-thirds in the restaurant.

Part time work

A high street hair salon employs a T Level student part-time and converts her current working hours into placement hours. The student continues to be paid as before. The salon owner and provider agree which practical skills the student should develop, including some that wouldn’t normally be gained from part-time work. Shifts are scheduled so as not to interrupt her T Level study.

Supply chain and employer networks

A large manufacturing firm uses a chain of smaller, specialist component suppliers in the area. The firm arranges for their T Level students to spend time with two of these specialist businesses. This allows students to undertake a wide range of tasks including basic cutting and joining of materials, as well as identifying components, tools, equipment, resources and completing preparatory checks. The placement time is split roughly 50:50 between the large firm and its two suppliers. 

Pathway level + multiple employer

A micro furniture-making business in a small coastal town offers a placement to a student on a Craft and Design T Level who wants to become a furniture maker. The owner can only commit to hosting around two-thirds of the placement time, so the provider arranges for the student to complete the rest of the time in a furniture store nearby, to help build confidence and general employability skills in a related working environment.

Skills hub and training centre

An engineering firm with a history of employing apprentices has created its own training facility. Apprentices and other new recruits start their training using specialist equipment in a controlled environment. This allows the firm to overcome health and safety concerns around young people going straight into the workplace. The centre also provides training to students on Engineering and Manufacturing T Levels, including students in placements with other local engineering firms. The training takes place in a block of 70 hours, around one-fifth of the total placement time, after which the students complete the rest of their placement with their employer.

Small team projects

Small organisations can often provide placement opportunities which don’t last the full 315 hours needed for T Levels. A small builder in exactly this position offers around 200 hours of work for a T Level Construction student on a particular build. Before it starts, the student joins a small group with five others, renovating a building owned by the council. This project includes a wide range of tasks such as bricklaying, plastering, minor demolition, general labouring, painting and decorating, and basic plumbing. It takes place over five weeks, with the student on site for two days each week.

Hybrid (remote) placement

A growing number of organisations are adopting hybrid working patterns where employees spend part of their time working remotely. One such employer is keen to offer a placement to a student specialising in business improvement as part of a Management and Administration T Level. They agree that the student will spend time in the office first to get to know how the business works, then spend around a fifth of their placement time working remotely from a dedicated office space on the provider’s campus.

Hybrid (remote) placement + multiple employer + pathway level

A large national employer has offered a remote placement to a student specialising in investment banking as part of the T Level in Legal, Finance and Accounting. This part of the placement allows the student to develop specialist skills in analysing financial information, applying risk management principles, and explaining financial products and services to stakeholders. To supplement this experience, the student spends the remaining four-fifths of their placement time in the office of a local accounting firm, developing general skills relating to the financial sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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