T Levels explained – advice for young people and parents
Kickstart your career with T Levels
T Levels are new courses for 16-19 year olds that take two years to complete and are equivalent to 3 A Levels.
Below we outline common questions for parents and young people.
What is a T Level?
T Levels are new, two-year, technical courses for 16-19 year olds. They are not easy – in fact they are the equivalent of three A Levels and aimed at giving you technical, work-ready, skills that UK businesses need. To secure a place on a T Level course you almost always need to have at least grade 4 in GCSE English and Maths.
Essentially, A Levels are ‘academic’ levels and T Levels are ‘technical’ levels. The content of a T Level course is difficult, but less theoretical than A Levels. If you like more hands-on learning, developing skills and knowledge matched to what employers are looking for, this could be the route for you!
What if I haven’t got a grade 4 GCSE English or Maths?
Don’t worry if you don’t have grade 4 GCSE English or Maths. You can still do a T Level, but you have to do a transition course first. Lasting a year, transition courses get you ready to start a T Level the following year.
What’s an industry placement?
Industry placements are a compulsory part of T Level courses. They are also usually the part that most young people look forward to.
A T Level industry placement is where you’ll go to work for an employer, doing tasks and projects relevant to your course and getting to know a team and a business. Industry placements aren’t the same as work experience, they last 45 days (or 9 weeks), so they are long enough that you really get to understand the workplace. You’ll also make great connections and learn loads that you just can’t learn in the classroom.
For example, if you’re studying on the Accountancy T Level, you could work for an employer in an office sending invoices, chasing up payments and seeing how payroll works. Dealing with real customers and colleagues will teach you so so much about the industry you’ve chosen and help you to understand where you see your future career heading.
What subjects can I study T Levels in?
There are currently 16 different T Levels that you can choose from and there will be another 7 added for September 2023.
T Levels start as fairly broad areas of study. This is so you get to understand the basics of what you’re interested in. Then, in the second year you get to specialise, once you have a better idea of what really interests you and where you see your career going.
For example, if you studied Management and Administration, in Year 2 you would choose to study business improvement, team leadership, business support or imformation management.
All the course that will be available by September 2023 are:
- Animal care and management
- Agriculture, land management and production
- Building services engineering for construction
- Craft and design
- Design and development for engineering and manufacturing
- Design, surveying and planning for construction
- Digital business services
- Digital production, design and development
- Digital support services
- Education and childcare
- Engineering, manufacturing, processing and control
- Hair, beauty and aesthetics
- Healthcare science
- Legal services
- Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing
- Management and administration
- Media, broadcast and production
- Onsite construction
It’s important to know that not all subjects will be available in every town or city yet. You will have to talk to schools and colleges in your area to see which options are available to you.
If I want to go to university, should I stick to A Levels instead of T Levels?
No. If you want to go to university, you can still do T Levels as you will get UCAS points. In fact, getting a T Level Distinction is the equivalent of getting AAA in your A Level subjects!
Also, because you do an industry placement, you really get to understand what it’s like to work. This can give you a better understanding at university about how to apply the theory that you’re learning in a work context. This can help you do better when interviewing for jobs after you’ve completed your degree.
As a general rule, if you know what industry you want to work in, T Levels are a great option. If you’re still not sure where you see your career going, then studying three different subjects at A Level gives you a couple more years to narrow down your path.
Where do I go for more information on T Levels?
There are a few websites that have some good information and you can always call the National Careers Service for impartial advice aimed at parents and young people. The links below are a few of the ones we recommend visiting:
What if I just want a job or apprenticeship?
If you are keen to work and feel like formal education isn’t for you – you’re not alone. You can start an apprenticeship from the age 16 or if you’re 18+ you can work full-time.
Our parent company, Supplytrain CIC, connects young people to supportive employers. If you want to send us your CV and a little bit of information about the type of job or apprenticeship you want – we can try to help you find somewhere great to work with lots of opportunity to progress.
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.