What are T-levels? Get the lowdown

Want to mix studying and hands-on experience? Find out about T-levels, a new type of qualification now available in England.

What are T-levels?

T-levels are a new type of technical qualification, designed for after your GCSEs. They've been developed alongside employers to make sure that what you learn meets the needs of industry and prepares you for work. Here's some key info to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • T-levels are two-year courses
  • They are equivalent to three A-levels
  • Your time is split: 80% classroom learning; 20% industry placement
  • Placements are at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days)
  • T-levels could help you get into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.

And yes, you guessed it, the T stands for Technical!

This is a really exciting time to be taking these pioneering new qualifications and will ensure you stand out from the crowd when looking to get on in your career – Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills.

How are T-levels different to apprenticeships?

QualificationTime split
T-levels80% classroom learning; 20% industry placement
Apprenticeships80% on-the-job; 20% classroom learning

I am honestly very excited to get a mix of classroom education as well as work experience, I think it will really boost my CV and introduce me to some new life skills as well – future T-level student.

What subject areas do they cover?

T-level courses for three subjects launched in autumn 2020 at selected schools, colleges and other providers in England. New subjects will be available each year over the following three years:

From autumn 2020From autumn 2021
- Design, surveying and planning for construction- Building services engineering for construction
- Digital production, design and development- Digital business services
- Education and childcare- Digital support and services
- Health
- Healthcare science
- Onsite construction
- Science
From autumn 2022From autumn 2023
- Accounting- Animal care and management
- Design and development for engineering and manufacturing- Agriculture, land management and production
- Engineering, manufacturing, processing and control- Catering
- Finance- Craft and design
- Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing- Hair, beauty and aesthetics
- Management and administration- Human resources
- Legal
- Media, broadcast and production

Where can I study T-levels?

You can head over to the T-levels website and pop in your postcode to find providers in your area. You can also find a list of T-level providers on the gov.uk website.

What makes T-levels stand out?

As Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan, explains: “What sets T-levels apart is that they have been co-designed with over 250 global and leading employers so that you can be sure you will gain the knowledge and skills that employers need for the jobs of the future.” The industry placement included in T-level courses also allows you to “gain vital work experience to help you get a head start in your career.”

I think the T-level will be an amazing experience to take part in as it will allow me to create my own opportunities in the future and climb further up the ladder of success. The main pull factor for me are the skills and experience I will gain after the completion of the course and how it’s a ‘stand out’ qualification – future T-level student.

How do T-level grades work?

T-level grades will be given as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*.

This grade will be calculated from a “core” component (marked A* to E) and one or more “occupational specialism” components (marked pass, merit or distinction), combined to form your final grade.

On completing a T-level, you'll be awarded a nationally recognised certificate with a breakdown of your achievements, which will also confirm that you've met the necessary Maths and English requirements and completed an industry placement.

Check out the guide below for how UCAS tariff points will work for T-levels:

UCAS tariff pointsT-level overall gradeA-level
168Distinction*AAA*
144DistinctionAAA
120MeritBBB
96Pass (C or above on the “core”)CCC
72Pass (D or E on the “core”)DDD

This really is going to be the new gold standard qualification for people entering employment... The T-level is perfectly designed to help you hit the ground running when you start work – Matt Reynolds, VP at Cirencester College.

Find out more

Like what you hear? To learn more and see if T-levels could be the right path for you, head to the T-levels website or gov.uk for all the latest information.

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