Industry placement incentives and other frequently asked employer questions

What are T Levels?

T Levels are new, two-year, technical qualifications for 16-19 year olds.

They are the equivalent to 3 A Levels and have been developed in collaboration with employers. This is so the content of the course meets the needs of the industry and prepares students for entry into a skilled profession, an apprenticeship, or further higher-level study.

T Level students spend 80% of their time at a school or college learning and 20% of their time with an employer on an industry placement, putting their learning into practice. 

What is an industry placement?

Industry placements are a compulsory part of  a T Level. Students spend at least 315 hours working in an organisation gaining real on-the-job work skills and experience relevant to their qualification. 315 hours is approximately 45 days.

The way in which an industry placement will be structured will be agreed between you, as an employer, and the school or college to fit around the students curriculum.

Industry placements could be day release (i.e. 1 day for 45 weeks), a nine week block or a combination of day and block release.

Every school or college has a slighly different industry placement offer. Our best advice is to submit your interest in our service and someone on our team will call to go through your specific industry placement opportunity and put you in touch with the school or college in your area most likely to be able to support your needs. 

Are there any industry placement incentives for employers?

We understand that you will have costs when offering industry placements. For example, you may need to buy software licences, equipment or even PPE. There is also the time your team will put into managing an industry placement student. Unfortunately, at this time, there are no financial industry placement incentives nationally to support these costs.

However, wages are optional and industry placements are long enough that students will really get to grips with the work you need them to do. Essentially, this is your investment – so making it count is important!

Whether you are bring people in to help lighten the work load in the here and now, or are looking at industry placements to support your talent pipeline, it’s really important to think about how you can induct students thoroughly and allow them to pick up tasks and projects that keep them motivated without draining your time.   

At the T Level Gateway we can help you to consider the types of office-based tasks and projects you could get students to do in the first 5-10 days, so they are learning your system, settling in and not taking up too much management time. We can then look at integrating other work after time, to better support your business and/or assess someone’s longer-term potential.


It’s also worth saying that financial incentives can vary across regions as mayoral authorities or local councils may have their own pots of funding to encourage employers to offer industry placements. If you submit your interest and complete the enquiry form, we will call you to discuss industry placements and let you know of any regional financial incentives that we are aware of. 

Why should my business offer T Level industry placements?

There are endless reasons why hosting an industry placement student could benefit your organisation. For example:

    • Extra resource for your day-to-day operations from students who are developing skills relevant to your business and industry. This gives you more time to focus on things you may not always have time for
    • Give your employees the opportunity to develop management and mentoring skills
    • Support local young people in improving their employability and progression opportunities
    • Inspire the next generation to work in your industry by showcasing what it’s like to work in your business
    • Strengthen your recruiting pipeline and increase diversity within the workplace

The T Level Gateway can talk to you about the pros and cons of industry placements for your specific organisation and whether they might be a good option for you.  

Do I need to pay the students for the time they spend on placement?

There is no legal requirement or expectation that T Level students should be paid. The main aim is to ensure the student is accessing a high-quality, meaningful work that helps them to develop skills relevant to their course.

If you wish to pay the student for the time in which they work with you, you can, or you could support the student with other things such as travel costs or lunch money.

Industry placements are a compulsory part or every T Level course and it is tough for businesses at the moment. By providing high-quality, supportive, placements to students, you are helping younng people to make a positive start to their career. Do not be put off from getting involved if you cannot afford to pay a contribution to wages. You can discuss this with us or the school or college that you work with.  

How are industry placements different from work experience?

Work experience usually involves allowing a student to shadow you for up to two weeks, having not necessarily studied a course relevant to your industry. They are more there to observe and get a taster for the world of work.

Industry placements are different. They are for a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days), and the students are studying a related course that is the equivalent to 3 A Levels. This means that they will have relevant skills and knowledge to enable them to add value to your business.

Feedback from employers offering industry placements has been really positive. Many employers say that it can take a couple of weeks for students to bed in, but (because of the length of the placement and the level they are studying at) over time they really do add value to the business in lots of ways. 

How can I balance industry placements with my general day-to-day business activities?

Firstly, students will not start an industry placement until they are ready. The school or college they are studying with will make sure they have the basic employability skills needed to make the most of their placement. This means that they should understand how to behave in the workplace and use their initative when required. 

Secondly, if you decide to offer industry placements, the school or college you choose to work with will help you to set goals and responsibilities. These will be communicated with the student before they start on placement. This exercise will also allow you to think through what tasks students can do independently and which they need more support to achieve. 

Lastly, the school or college that you work with will have an industry placement manager on hand to help you if things are not working out as you planned.   

For a lot of sole traders or micro businesses, offering industry placements can seem like a big step as you might be bringing in people to your business, who aren’t friends or family, for the first time. You might be worried about how this will work out. However, another way of looking at it, is that industry placements can be good practice for employing people in the years ahead, as your business grows. You’ll have to have employer liability insurance in place and will get used to setting tasks and managing people, yet you won’t have that long-term commitment. 

What if I want to keep on a student after their industry placement has ended?

If you decide that you would like to hire a student after completing their industry placement, you can, although it will be dependent upon what plans the student has too of course!

As the T Level qualifications are equivalent to 3 A Levels, some young people will choose to move on to university, whereas others may be looking for work immediately. 

If you do offer jobs at the end, but feel the student needs further training, you may want to consider degree-apprenticeships.

Degree-apprenticeships are amazing recruitment tools! Essentially you can offer someone a debt-free degree, whilst they carry on working for you. This is very attractive to a lot of young people. If you want to know more about recruiting graduate calibre young people through a degree-apprenticeship programme – contact Supplytrain’s head office at  

How can my company get involved?

Businesses or all shapes and sizes are encouraged to offer industry placements. For free, impartial advice, submit your interest on this website, complete the enquiry form and one of our team will call you to discuss your exact opportunity.

We are one of only three government-approved T Level Growth Partners, commissioned by the Department for Education. This means we can provide great support at no cost to you and help you to make good T Level and industry placement decisions.

We can also signpost you to further, more intensive support if necessary or to another one of the T Level growth partners if your business is not able to support office-based placements. We hope to hear from you!

T Level Gateway

The T Level Gateway is a service run by Supplytrain CIC – a social enterprise committed to helping businesses more easily employ and develop young people.

This service is commissioned by:

Department for Education


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