Student Progression with T Levels
The first students to complete their T Level are starting their careers now. Many have full-time jobs with their placement employer and are enrolled on apprenticeships, including degree apprenticeships. Others have successfully applied for jobs in the same industry as their T Level course.
These students say that their placement experiences helped them to decide on a career. They say that being in the real working environment with a host employer also gave them the knowledge, skills and confidence to give their careers the best possible start.
Their employers are happy too, because hosting placements has given them early access to a pool of bright, ambitious, hard-working young people. Employers know what these students can do from seeing them on the placement, and managers know which skills they bring to the team and how quickly they learn.
Who this resource is for
- Employers who want to know more about where students move on to after their industry placement.
- Managers responsible for recruitment, early careers and apprenticeships.
- Staff who mentor students during their placements and afterwards as employees.
About the resource
This resource shows where students go when they finish their T Level and how employers benefit from hosting industry placements.
- Case studies of employers and students in construction and digital jobs.
- Stories of individual students talking about why they chose T Levels, what they learned from their industry placement, where they are now, and their future ambitions.
- Employers’ views about the opportunities open to students after they finish their T Level and the benefits of hosting them on industry placements.
You can use it to:
- Make a case for hosting T Level students on industry placements to others in your organisation.
- Make plans for placement students to start their careers, with you or in the industry you’re part of.
Case study 1
“Doing the placement was the main reason why I decided to go on to a career in site management”.
Student: Fatima Wonto Saidykhan
Employer: Morgan Sindall Construction
T Level: Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction
Progression to: Trainee site manager and degree apprenticeship
Fatima Wonto Saidykhan:
“I started my T Level in September 2021. I’d already studied A Levels for a year at college, but I didn't feel like the subjects I was doing really mattered to me. I was thinking about becoming an architect, so I spoke to my careers advisor who told me about the T Level in Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction. I did a bit of research on the course, spoke to my parents, and then decided to go for it.
“My industry placement was with Morgan Sindall at the Priscilla Bacon Hospice in Norwich. I worked there one a day a week doing on-site activities like quality inspections, joining meetings and walking the client round the site. I helped the site manager check the drawings, making sure they matched the client’s specification and seeing what they'd missed out. I also helped the quantity surveyor by making sure that pricings were right on the tenders from subcontractors. I stayed until the end of the hospice project, which was really lovely.
“The placement was interesting because no two days were the same and every project was different. Doing the placement was the main reason why I decided to go on to a career in site management when I finished the T Level in May 2023.
“Now I’m starting work as a trainee site manager with Morgan Sindall. I’ll be doing a degree apprenticeship, one day a week at university in Chelmsford and four days a week on site. I'll start with a six-month rotation in different jobs like site management, quantity surveying, design management, estimating and so on.
“With the apprenticeship you get about four or five years of experience as well as the degree, which is really good to put on your CV. I think I’ll have a better understanding of what I do on site because of combining it with university. I’ll probably have to use my weekends to do the university work though.
“I’m the first person in my family to do anything with construction. I’m hoping to carry on working in the industry with Morgan Sindall after I finish the degree apprenticeship. It will have been a long journey, but it will definitely be worth it.”
Helen Clements, Senior Social Value Manager, Morgan Sindall Construction East:
“I’d worked with Fatima since Year Eight before she joined us on a T Level placement. She succeeded on the placement because she had lots of energy and drive and really put herself out for us. She looked for different experiences onsite and put herself through her CSCS card during the holidays. So she drove us rather than us driving, if that makes sense.
“That’s probably the main difference from other students, the use of initiative and the ability to demonstrate a hunger for the future. Being a female from an ethnic minority group on a construction site must have been quite challenging. She’s had to push herself to be successful and that says a lot about her. She’s a great role model for others and I’m keen for her to go out and promote that message so we get more people like her on T Levels and work experience.
“Fatima’s doing a degree apprenticeship now in site management which again is really good because we don’t have many female site managers. It's really exciting for us and I I'm encouraging her to be that role model in a way that helps us attract more young people like her to consider us as a sector.”
Case study 2
“I had no idea that when I finished my T Level I would be working full time and doing a degree as well”
Student: Tom Stray
Employer: CTECH Business Services
T Level: Digital Production, Design and Development
Progression to: Marketing manager and degree apprenticeship
“The T Level started things off really well for me, especially the industry placement at CTECH Business Services which is where I work now. I think the main benefit of the placement was helping me to understand how a business operates. Also learning how to work with other people, their personalities and so on.
“I had no idea that when I finished my T Level I would be working full time and doing a degree as well. It’s been a good outcome for me.
“I’d say the main difference now is that I have a lot more contact with clients. CTECH is a small business so if I take a call when our technicians are busy it’s my job to understand the client’s needs, discuss the job with them, and then take it back to the service team. I’m doing some outbound campaigns as well.
“The combination of university and work is good too. Some of the assignments I do for my digital marketing degree link quite closely to my work at CTECH. Others are more specific and in-depth compared to the actual work. For example, the processes we study at university are more detailed than the way we do things at work. But it’s still very useful to know about them.
“I definitely see myself staying in the industry. I’m quite interested in the financial side so that’s something I could maybe do more of later. I like to be part of a team so being in a business is better for me than working on my own.
“You never know what will happen in the future. For now, I want to finish my degree apprenticeship and carry on with my job at CTECH. Then we’ll see what’s next.”
Andy Dennahy, Managing Director, CTECH Business Services Ltd:
“Tom came to us on an industry placement during his T Level course. We basically asked him to have a go at helping with the websites we build for clients. As soon as we pointed him in the right direction, he basically just picked up on it.
“Tom used his part-time work with us to count towards his placement hours. If we had a website that needed developing and getting out of the door, he would come in either after college or put a few hours in where he had gaps in his schedule.
“We got to know him and understand his potential pretty well during that time. Which again is one of the other points of the T Level. If you're actually looking to take people on, it's like a very long interview process. When anyone comes in on a placement, we talk about what we do and the fact we're a growing company. And we say, who knows, by the time you finish the T Level you might be in the right place at the right time for a job with us.
“Tom knew that there was that opportunity to come and work with us afterwards. He wanted to go to university, so we supported him to go on a degree apprenticeship in digital marketing. He likes doing his university work one day a week alongside the experience with us – and he likes getting paid for it too.
“We’re an IT service business and we want him to become a well-rounded person who can do everything to do with Office 365. He also gets to see the whole sales process and that’s good for him too because it’s what a small business like ours is all about.
“I’m very happy that we have launched Tom into his career, first with the placement and now the job with the apprenticeship. We want Tom to carry on working with us. He’s already our marketing manager. But we’ll see - you never know what might happen next. By the time he finishes his university course, he might go off and do a year’s travelling or he might think he’s had enough of a little town like this and it's time to move up to London and the bright lights!”
Case study 3
“It’s confirmed our hopes that getting involved in T Levels would give us a pipeline of young people”.
Employer: BAM Construction Midlands Limited
T Level: Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction
Progression to: Trainee site manager and Level 4 apprenticeship
“I finished my T Level earlier this summer, then in September I started a Level 4 apprenticeship at BAM Construction where I did my industry placement. The apprenticeship lasts two years and I’ll do a degree apprenticeship for the next three years after that. So five years’ study in all to become a construction site manager, which is what I really want to be.
“Currently I’m on a nine-week block course in construction management at Leeds College of Building. I'm learning a lot. We're doing law right now, which I covered as part of my T Level. We’re going into more depth about planning. I never thought I'd be studying law here, but it's really interesting how integral it is to site management.
“After being on my placement, I definitely understand that I enjoy site management a lot. I love going out on site and working with project managers, architects and structural engineers. Getting to see how their life is throughout the day really helped me understand what I want to do.
“I think I developed as a person from that experience as well. I was always a very quiet person. I wasn't very outgoing and I didn't like going out of my comfort zone. But when you start the T Level placement, you have to go on site to talk to people, you have to engage a lot to understand everything.
“It made me feel a lot more confident, more comfortable on my assessment day for a job as well. I kind of knew the people who were there so I could talk to them about what I’d done on the placement, and that definitely helped a lot.
“I'll be back on site with BAM in November. I'm not sure what project I'll be working on yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I'm really excited. I know they're going to put me on a really good site.”
Phil Eves, Education Coordinator, BAM Construction Midlands Ltd:
“Ahana was one of our first cohort of T Level students on industry placements. She did part of her placement on a major construction site and part in an architect’s office. Her first idea was to become an architect, but she enjoyed her time on site much more than in the office so that changed her mind about the kind of job she wanted to do.
“After finishing the placement Ahana took part in an assessment centre for a job with BAM. She did very well. She was confident and answered all the questions, which I’d say was mainly down to her placement experience. It definitely gave her an advantage over some of the other candidates, being able to say ‘Oh yes, I’ve done that and this is how you do it’.
“To be fair there weren’t too many confidence issues with Ahana from the beginning. But I definitely saw her develop during the placement, by seeing what’s involved in a big construction project and getting involved in the work herself. She also learned to communicate with managers and colleagues.
“After her performance in the assessment centre the business offered Ahana an apprenticeship as a construction manager. She starts in September. It’s a two-year apprenticeship so there will be plenty of opportunities for her to experience a broad range of construction. We’ve already identified a new project for her to work on.
“I could definitely see Ahana making a career in the industry, hopefully with BAM. There’s a huge emphasis on net zero construction now and that could be one area for her to make a contribution.
“As well as Ahana, we’ve been able to offer jobs at BAM to three other industry placement students. They’re all due to start in September as well, in different parts of the business. It’s certainly confirmed our hopes that getting involved in T Levels would give us a pipeline of young people who have practical experience of the industry under their belts, who know us and the work we do, and who are ready to hit the ground running with their apprenticeships.”
Case study 4
“The course (Higher Technical Qualification – HTQ) seemed a natural progression from my T Levels. It helps me to gain knowledge about the current digital progression within the construction industry, especially surveying.”
Student: James Wareing
Employer: Wareing Buildings
T Level: Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction
Progression to: HNC Construction and the Built Environment (HTQ)
“The reason I chose a T Level was because it allowed me to work alongside studying. I am more of a visual learner so it really helped me gain that valuable work experience on site as well as in the classroom. I found the course online. I did some research into it and it seemed perfect for what I wanted.
“I found the T Level to be a better way of learning. Lots of people post-18 wanted to get straight into the workplace and T Levels give you a head start. The practical experience on the extended placement allows you to develop key technical skills so much faster. This has given me the confidence to transition successfully into the workplace.
“I have now secured employment where I completed my placement. I will be working 4 days a week as well as attending college one day a week to complete my approved HTQ, which is a Higher National Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment. I’m now in my first year of my HTQ (Higher Technical Qualification) at Blackpool and Fylde College.
“I decided to do an HTQ following my T Level because I enjoyed the more practical subjects at school such as design technology, so I was looking for a career where I could develop and use these skills. I always found design and construction interesting but as I progressed through school I found construction even more fascinating and decided that this was a career path that I would like to follow. I then researched to find a course that was suitable for me to develop my skills in this area. My tutors also encouraged me to continue my learning journey into a level 4 with the HTQ.
“I liked the tutors and knew it was going to be the same people and it’s been good to return to college in familiar surroundings.
“I am really enjoying the HTQ. I am a visual learner so the practical nature of the course works well for me. I am enjoying learning new skills then applying it. The course allows me to work onsite still and with it only being one day a week means I can still work and save money. I decided doing the HTQ alongside work would be the best option for me. Studying whilst working gives me a great life balance. I would certainly recommend it.
“After completing my HTQ, I will continue working and considering carrying onto to university part-time to do a degree. I’ll still be at the same company but moving up the ladder. Eventually I’d love to be a site manager or surveyor.
James’s employer at Wareing Buildings supports the technical education journey James has taken:
“We are delighted that James has continued his education with his Higher Technical Qualification. He has thrived in the 2 years that he did T levels, enjoying the practical nature of the course and we will watch with interest as he continues his education.
The construction industry is a very fast-moving developing industry. AI continues to change the way that we operate as a firm. It is important for us to progress in line with these changes and we welcome the knowledge and new skills that our learners bring into the workplace. James has made a confident start to his employment at Wareing Buildings and we look forward to seeing his skills progress within the firm.
We feel that the current learning schemes running alongside a further education course, such as an HTQ, is a great option. This allows James to continue his education and learning new skills while also earning. We have noticed that James has increased hugely in confidence since attending Blackpool and Fylde College and since starting his employment.
Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are level 4 and level 5 qualifications, such as Foundation Degrees, Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas. They are an option for young people starting their career and for adults looking to upskill or retrain.
HTQs have been approved against employer developed standards, also known as occupational standards. This ensures that learners gain the skills that employers want, and employers can be confident that learners have the knowledge, skills and behaviours for a particular specialist role.