The government has acknowledged the 45-day industry placement element of the new T levels will provide difficulties for providers and employers.
The Department for Education’s (DfE) director of professional and technical education, Jennifer Coupland, was speaking on the second day of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) National Conference in London about the work placement element of T levels, now renamed "industry placements".
She said: “We did that for a reason, partly to underline that T levels will give students a broad introduction to their selected industry, but also to recognise the importance of the placement taking place in the real world working environment.”
Ms Coupland said industry placement pilots were taking place at 21 providers across England, adding: “We know this will be hard to deliver. We are starting early and we have launched the industry placement pilot scheme which is currently testing different models and approaches to delivering T level placements.”
She added: “One of the key things that came out of the pilots was the need for flexibility in how we deliver this and that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model does not work for all employers or individual localities, so we will be building all of that into our thinking as we go forward.”
The government has set aside £74 million in "capacity development funding" to make sure the infrastructure is in place to deliver such a large-scale work placement programme.
The industry placements are a crucial part of the T level programme and must last for at least 45 days across the two-year qualification. The government’s recent response to the T level consultation outlined some of the increased flexibility.
Providers will be able to work with employers to determine if this is best delivered through day release, a single three-month placement, or a number of blocks at different times during the programme, potentially with different employers.