The government has introduced a fund to help providers and employers to start developing work placements as the sector prepares for the new T levels.
Substantive work placements are to be a crucial part of the new qualifications, due to be introduced in 2020. Earlier this year, education secretary Justine Greening announced a £50 million investment from April 2018 to fund these placements.
And new guidance on the work placements, published today, says that the government is expecting providers and employers to start developing the capacity and capability to deliver these now in advance of the introduction of T levels from 2020. “To this, end DfE has introduced the Work Placement Capacity and Delivery Fund (CDF).”
The guidance explains that CDF funding is additional to the mainstream allocation and that work placements must be delivered on top of the usual planned hours. It also provides an overview of the requirements for funding, recording and delivering work placements, stating institutions receiving the funding needed to ensure the placements meet the published principles.
This includes ensuring a work placement is on average 50 working days in length covering a minimum of 315 hours, and that it is occupationally specific and focussed on developing practical and technical skills. It also has to take place with an external employer on a site external to the student’s learning environment, and is adequately supervised, and monitored by actual site visits.
The fund, according to the Department for Education, will be available from April next year, to “facilitate the build-up of capacity and capability to deliver substantive work placements and deliver placements in the 2018 to 2019 academic year”.
In order to receive funding, institutions should provide a completed implementation plan template to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) by 24 November, outlining what the short and medium term actions will be to ensure delivery of placements in the 2018 to 2019 academic year, and how this will help support delivery in future once T levels have been introduced.
According to the DfE, additional funding through the CDF will be available in future years to support providers to deliver work placements for T levels.