Technical Pathways: T Levels & Apprenticeships

How do T Levels work?

T Levels all follow the same broad framework and primarily consist of:

  • A technical qualification. This is the main, classroom-based element and includes core content followed by occupational specialisation. Students will learn about their chosen sectors through a curriculum designed by employers and developed by an awarding organisation.
  • An industry placement with an employer. This runs for a minimum of 315 hours (45 days) overall and will give students practical insights into their sector and an opportunity to embed the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom.
  • English and maths provision. This is built into the classroom-based element of the T Level with the aim of giving those students who need it a solid foundation of transferable skills.

To pass a T Level and be awarded a certificate, students need to pass all components of the programme. The Government hopes T Levels will then support progression directly into skilled employment, an apprenticeship at level 4 or higher, and degrees and other higher education courses in related technical areas.

For students who are not ready to start a T Level, but who may have the potential to progress onto one following some initial preparation, a one-year, post-GCSE T Level Transition Programme has been designed.

For a list of T LEVEL subjects available, please follow the link T Levels | The Next Level Qualification


How apprenticeships work

Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study.

As an apprentice they'd:

  • be an employee earning a wage and getting holiday pay
  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • get time for training and study related to your role (at least 20% of your normal working hours)

Apprenticeships take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on their level.

Levels of apprenticeship

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.

  Level Equivalent educational level
Intermediate 2 GCSE
Advanced 3 A level
Higher 4,5,6 and 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Some apprenticeships may also give you an additional qualification, such as a diploma.

Who can start an apprenticeship

To start an apprenticeship, they'd need to be:

  • 16 or over
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

The young person can apply for an apprenticeship while still at school but need to be 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays to start the apprenticeship.

Do they have relevant experience

They could spend less time training or qualify earlier if have relevant experience. This includes having:

  • qualifications, such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in a relevant subject
  • industry or sector experience
  • completed training, such as an IT course

 The young person can agree this with the training provider and employer when they start your apprenticeship.

If they need more experience

If they aren't yet ready for an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a course designed to prepare for one.

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