T levels: Government announces £135m capital fund

Funding can be used to purchase specialist kit such as surveying equipment and engineering tools

Kate Parker

T levels: The DfE has announced a £135m capital fund for providers

T-level providers can bid for a share of £135 million to upgrade classrooms and buildings for delivery in 2022, the Department for Education announced today.

The funding, which will come from the existing T-level capital fund, can also be used to purchase specialist kit such as surveying equipment and engineering tools to ensure that students are trained on industry-standard devices.  

The first three T levels were launched last autumn: education and childcare, digital and construction. From later this year, seven more will be available, with a further 15 to be rolled out gradually between 2022 and 2023.

More: Can there possibly be enough T-level placements?

Background: T-level placements 'require significant resource'

T levels: Allow virtual work placement, say FE leaders

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The successful launch of T levels [in 2020] represents the start of a transformation in our technical education system – giving young people the vital skills they need to get ahead and giving employers the talented workforce they need to thrive as we build back better from the pandemic.

“To deliver world-class qualifications, providers need to have world-class facilities and cutting-edge equipment. This funding will help to make sure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed when they finish their T levels.”

The challenge of launching T levels

The launch of T levels has not been without its challenges: out of the 50 providers that were originally due to begin delivery in September 2020, six pulled out, either cancelling or postponing delivery. 

And concerns have been raised widely across the sector regarding the viability of T-level placements, with some leaders calling for flexibilities around placements being virtual.

Currently, the T level requires students to complete 350 hours of work placement – but due to the disruption of the pandemic, many businesses have been unable to offer placements to students. 

One principal told Tes that businesses were unable to offer students physical placements, but were willing to offer placements online. However, skills and apprenticeships minister Gillian Keegan said that she believed work placements could not be replicated online. 

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a schools and colleges content producer.

Find me on Twitter @KateParkerTes

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