T Level students and your future workforce (progression)

Employers across England are realising the business benefits of T Levels as they host students on industry placements.

Do any of these statements apply to you?

  • We are struggling to find employees with the skills we need to be successful
  • We know a diverse workforce helps us to innovate and problem solve but we are finding it difficult to achieve this in practice
  • Increasing the number of young people applying to our early career pathways will help us fill skills gaps
  • One of our main challenges as a growing business is ensuring we have the talent we need to scale

If so this guide will help you understand how a T Level student can progress from the industry placement to becoming a successful member of your workforce.

 

Q:   How does hosting an industry placement help to overcome these challenges?

A:   The industry placement provides an excellent progression opportunity.

It gives you:

  • A way to build entry-level skills - even before a young person is employed by you
  • An opportunity to make sure that a young person is developing the skills, workplace behaviours and experience you need
  • A chance to build a talent pipeline for junior positions, apprenticeships and internships.

“It has opened up so many opportunities. I’ve learnt so much when I’ve been here that I never thought I would. I feel like if I didn’t have the placement, I wouldn’t be this confident.”

Education T Level Student

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Progressing into Work

T Level students can develop to become an integral part of your workforce, with skills and knowledge that is directly relevant to your industry and recruitment needs.  Additionally, by working with local schools, colleges and training providers delivering T Levels, you can avoid many recruitment related costs and tap into a pool of exciting young people who are making decisions about their future.

“It has made me realise what I want to do in future. It’s like a dream job I never knew I wanted.  It does help you see what the world is really like.”

Animal Care T Level Student

 

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Q: Can a T level student progress to an apprenticeship at any level?

A:  Some T Level graduates may want to progress to an apprenticeship at level 4 or higher, building on the knowledge, skills and behaviours they have secured during their T Level course. In some cases, they might want to work in a more specialist area, which could mean taking an apprenticeship at level 3 or below, particularly where these apprenticeships require 3 or 4 years to complete. For these young people, there would be additional specialist training needed that might be best delivered through a level 3 apprenticeship. Such apprenticeships would take into account the prior learning gained through completion of  the T Level and would result in the duration of the apprenticeships being reduced. If a move from a T Level to a Level 3 apprenticeship is needed, the provider would have to assess against prior learning and accredit that.

Q:  What is a supported internship?

A:  Alongside traditional internship programmes, T Levels present an excellent opportunity to increase diversity in your workforce by introducing young people who have special educational needs to your organisation as an employer of choice.  A supported internship is a structured study programme based primarily with an employer. They are intended to help young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to achieve sustainable, paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work through learning in the workplace. The overwhelming majority of young people with SEND are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support.

They give the young person the opportunity to build on what they’ve learnt during their T Level, before taking the next step into full time employment or an apprenticeship.

Internships normally last for a year and include unpaid work placements of at least six months with the aim of moving into paid employment at the end of the programme. 

“I feel like an adult. I have travelled to work independently, done my job and travelled home independently – just like other workers. I’m so proud of myself, I want to keep working.”

NHS Supported Intern

Find out more about Supported Internships.

Planning the industry placement to support progression into work

The Number Crunchers

“Our future employees will come from this cohort of young people…the more we empower them, the more they will step up to the mark.”

 The Number Crunchers is an accountancy and bookkeeping SME that has grown rapidly over the last 2 years. Gaynor Hutton, Business Development Lead, is clear that the focus is on delivering a high-quality service to their clients whilst the business scales.

To support their ambitious plans, young people on placement are welcomed into the organisation, with entry level jobs a possibility if they want to pursue a career with The Number Crunchers.

Gaynor recognises that input from the business is critical to getting the output they want from placements. She liaises closely with the college, inputting into the taught element where she identifies skills gaps. For example, training the students to deal confidently with clients by telephone. Clear work instructions, management support and quality assurance processes provide the foundations needed during the placement to develop future employees.

Students are encouraged to take the opportunity the placement provides and run with it. They are treated like an employee from day one, working on client accounts to give them real work experience and benefit their career progression. 

The Accounting T Level will be launched in September 2022. 

“Our future employees will come from this cohort of young people…the more we empower them, the more they will step up to the mark.”

Increasing the Technology Talent Pool

Cisco

“We need more work-ready young people.”

Cisco is a major global technology company with a large workforce in the UK and Ireland. 

As part of their talent strategy, Cisco places significant emphasis on building their early career group of employees, bringing in young people in increasing numbers. In the last year alone, their degree apprenticeship intake has tripled.

This group of young people play a key role for the business. Cisco’s Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility, Kathryn Baddley says "T Level students represent a crucial talent pool to feed apprenticeships, internships and future graduate programmes. Our aim is to give young people a great experience of the technology industry, so they follow through into Cisco or other companies when they complete their T Level."

The advice from Kathryn is to ensure the projects during the placement provide real work experience, supported by people in your own organisation who are passionate and enthusiastic about the roles.

Progression Profiles

Working with employers, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is designing progression profiles to show opportunities available to T Level students upon completion, including apprenticeships and employment.

Here’s an outline of the further learning or qualification possibilities for students after a successful T Level. A T Level is at Level 3 where one T Level = three A Levels.

 

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For example, for the T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development which was launched in 2020, a successful student might:

  • Go straight into employment, for example as a software development technician.
  • Enter a higher technical occupation by taking a level 4 apprenticeship. This could be a DevOps engineer, Software developer, or Software tester.
  • Access higher technical occupations through studying Higher Technical Qualifications at Level 4 or 5 in a digital occupation
  • Progress a Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship at Level 6

The T Levels in Digital Business Services and Digital Business Support Services T Levels were also launched in 2021. All current and planned T Levels are detailed on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

You can also look at the more detailed progression profiles showing the individual technical qualifications that might follow a T Level. 

Practical Steps

  • Consider your workforce needs now and in the future; where are the skills gaps? Which roles are suitable for entry level positions including apprenticeships?
  • Start with the end in mind. What would you need a young person to know and do as a new employee joining your organisation?
  • Work with the T Level college, school or training provider, to inform the course content and create industry placements that allows you to develop those skills whilst they are with you.
  • Let the T Level provider know from the outset that your aim is to recruit one or more employees from the T level graduate pool. Work with them to agree a selection process for the placement itself.
  • Use the IfATE progression maps to help you plan the next steps for your new employee once they join you.
  • Work with the college, school or training provider to help you devise suitable supported internships to increase your talent pool.

“I can definitely say I’m more confident in my skills and abilities. I want to keep on improving and progressing.”

Construction T Level Student

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You can hear more about how T Level students have benefitted from their industry placement

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