T Levels are new two-year technical education courses for 16-18-year-olds. These free courses are for after you’ve completed your GCSEs. If you have a good idea which career you’d like to go into, and you want to learn the relevant technical skills for that career in a classroom, T Levels could be a good choice for you.
What are T levels?
One T Level equals three A levels and takes two years to complete. T Levels are a full time programme of study for young people aged between 16 and 18. They’re made up of practical tasks, projects and exams. The course includes a mixture of classroom and practical learning (this will make up 80% of your time) and “on the job” experience in the form of an industry placement (this will make up 20%).
T Level courses have all been written with the help of employers, so you get the knowledge and skills that you need in the workplace. T Levels are designed to make sure you’ll be ready to get a job when you qualify.
You’ll learn core skills and knowledge as part of your T Level course, and you can then choose to specialise for a specific job. For example, you could study for a Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction T Level. During the course, you could choose to specialise in civil engineering, building services design, hazardous materials and surveying or surveying and design for construction and the built environment – whichever suits you best. This makes T Levels a flexible option for people looking to join a specific sector or industry but who aren’t sure on exactly what job they’d like yet.
Your industry placement is a vital and mandatory part of your T Level course. As part of your course, you’ll need to do an industry placement lasting a minimum of 45 days. This also needs to be in an industry that’s relevant to the subject you’re studying. Your college or T Level provider will help you find a placement that’s right for you and your course.
Is a T Level right for me?
T Levels can fast track your career – but you’ll need to have a good sense of the industry that you want to work in. If you’re thinking of doing A levels but you know what career you’d like to go into, there might be a T Level that gets you closer to doing the job, or degree, you need.
Unlike an apprenticeship, you won’t get paid for doing a T Level. You might need to think about getting a part time job to support your studies.
You must pass every assessment and exam to get your T Level qualification.
T Levels give you UCAS points so you can apply for university or a degree apprenticeship or go straight into work. You’ll be very busy if you take a T Level, so ideally, you’ll already have your maths and English GCSEs, as studying for resits with your T Level workload will be hard. Some T Levels may also require Science GCSEs.
You’ll also need to be:
- Sure about your career choice
- Happy to learn in a classroom
- Willing to show what you’ve learned to an employer
- Committed to pass every part of the course
What kinds of T Levels are available in Greater Manchester?
T Levels are all two-year level 3 programmes, equivalent to 3 A Levels.
Not all T Levels have launched yet, but T Levels are currently available within Greater Manchester in these subject areas:
• Education and Childcare
• Health and Science
• Business Administration
• Engineering and Manufacturing
• Legal, Finance and Accounting
From September 2023, these subject areas will also be available within Greater Manchester:
• Agriculture, Land Management and Production
• Legal Services
You can find out more about which T Levels are available in your local area on the GMACS area pages.
What to expect with a T Level?
T Levels are made up of three components:
- Technical qualification
- Industry placement with employer of a minimum of 45 days in a relevant industry.
- Minimum standard in English and maths (Level 2 Functional Skills or GCSEs if not yet achieved) and digital skills if required.
You’ll need to complete all three to finish your T Level.
How do I apply for a T Level?
Applications for T Levels are handled by the college that you apply for. The admissions department at your college, or your Careers Leader at school, may be able to offer you specific advice.
If you’re thinking about a T Level, it’s worth thinking about what subject you might want to choose. Because T Levels are focused on specific types of employment, it’s also a good chance to think about whether these jobs are the sort of thing you think you might like.
Once you’ve decided on a T Level subject, visit as many Further Education or Sixth Form colleges in your area as you can to see which one you think will be right for you.
What will I get if I pass a T level?
When you complete a T Level, you’ll receive an overall grade of pass, merit, distinction, or distinction*. Completing a T Level means you’ll get a nationally recognised certificate which shows your overall grade and a breakdown of what you have achieved.
The T level certificate includes:
- An overall grade for the T level, shown as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*
- A separate grade for the core component, graded A*-E
- A separate grade for each occupational specialism, shown as pass, merit or distinction.
It will also include confirmation that you have:
- Met the minimum requirements for maths and English qualifications
- Completed the industry placement
- Met any additional mandatory requirements
Your overall T level grade will be worked out from the grades you achieve on the core component and the occupational specialism(s).
If you don’t pass all elements of your T Level, you’ll still get a T Level statement of achievement which will show the elements you have completed.
After you complete a T Level, your college will then offer you advice and guidance as to what your next steps might be. This could be to stay on at college and move up to the next level or get an apprenticeship or job.
What about progression into further study or skilled employment?
T levels have been designed by employers for progression into skilled employment. They provide the foundational knowledge you’ll need, as well as a range of technical skills. When you finish a T level, you’ll have experienced a substantial amount of time in the workplace developing a very employable skillset. This means you’ll be a great candidate for recruitment straight into industry.
If you’re thinking about further study, many T level students will be able to move on from their course to a relevant apprenticeship at level 4 or higher. You can even move on to an apprenticeship at the same or lower level than a qualification you already hold, so long as the apprenticeship allows you to acquire new skills and its content is different to your previous qualifications. T levels also give you UCAS tariff points, allowing you to progress on to higher education if you’d like to.
How many UCAS tariff points do you get for a T level?
T levels receive a tariff allocation roughly equal to 3 A levels. UCAS points are only allocated for the entire T level, not for the separate components.
UCAS tariff points
T level overall grade
Equivalent A level grades
Distinction* (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
Pass (C or above on the core)
Pass (D or E on the core)
How do I choose between A levels, T levels or an apprenticeship?
Check out this short video from the Department of Education that shows the differences between the three types of qualification:
Some useful links for further information
Industrial placement videos from the Department for Education