‘Education providers should be preparing for T-levels now’

A reluctance to get started on T-level preparation is understandable, but it is not sustainable, EMSI’s Rob Slane writes in The TES. 

It’s now nearly a year since the government set out its vision for technical education, in the Post-16 Skills Plan, and more than two months since the chancellor of the exchequer confirmed in his budget that T-Levels are set to become a reality. However, from many of the conversations we have been having with people in the further education and independent training provider sectors, it seems like there is a definite reluctance to deal with this issue now.

n a sense, this is understandable. There have been so many changes and initiatives in recent years that there is a tendency to roll the eyes at yet another one. Although reluctance to get cracking on T-level preparation might be understandable, it is not sustainable.

Philip Hammmand said “While we have an academic route in this country that is undeniably one of the best in the world, the truth is that we languish near the bottom of the international league tables for technical education. Today we end that doubt for good, with the introduction of T-Levels.”

But how can colleges and independent training providers begin to prepare? The place to begin must be to look at what T-Levels are intended to do. At the heart of the system is the idea that T-Levels will provide employers with people trained in the technical skills that they need to improve productivity and to grow. The most important part of the Post-16 Skills Plan is this description of the new qualifications as being:

“A dynamic, high-quality technical option, which is grounded in engagement with employers, fits soundly with the rest of the system and is responsive to the changing needs of the economy.”

The key to successful T-Level preparation is to begin with asking the following questions:

  • What occupations do each of the T-level routes relate to?
  • What is the demand for those occupations in our region?
  • How does our curriculum align with regional demand for these jobs?

Answering these questions is not only entirely feasible, (see here for one group of colleges that has taken this approach), but also essential for T-Levels to be really effective. As Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. The flip side of this is that the provider that engages in good, early preparation is the one that is best prepared for success.

Read more ‘Education providers should be preparing for T-levels now’

Do you think that T-levels will be introduced by 2019? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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