T Levels are new two-year, Level 3 technical qualifications which will sit alongside A Levels and apprenticeships to offer young people genuine parity of choice between vocational and academic education.
They were part of the reforms put forward in 2016 by the Independent Panel on Technical Education to transform the UK’s poorly-performing technical education system, equipping students with the knowledge and skills that employers value and that are needed to progress to higher education.
Overseen by the Institute for Apprenticeships, the first three T Levels - in Construction, Digital, and Education and Childcare - will be introduced in selected schools and colleges from September 2020 with 22 further qualifications rolled out in following years. The Construction route comprises three pathways:
1) Design, Surveying and Planning: this is the most advanced and has been selected for delivery in 2020
2) Building Services Engineering (the pathway under which FM currently sits) and On Site Construction; these will follow for first delivery in 2021
All qualifications include a 45-60 day compulsory industry placement aimed at giving students the experience and wider skills they will need in the world of work. Further details on the introduction of T Levels can be found here.
The workplace and facilities management profession is rapidly evolving into a diverse, multi-faceted sector which is facing a major skills shortage. The Open University 2018 Business Barometer put the direct cost of the UK skills shortages at £6.3 billion a year. In our Facilities Management 2018 Business Confidence Monitor (see link below) 27% of respondents cited the shortage of skilled staff as the factor most likely to affect the success of their business this year.
This skills gap has been exacerbated in large part by the lack of attention and investment given to technical and professional education over recent years. T Levels, alongside the Apprenticeship Levy, if implemented correctly, could be an important part of the solution, giving young people from all backgrounds a high-quality route to gaining the knowledge and technical skills they and business need to succeed, thereby creating a more successful economy and raising the UK’s productivity.