T levels: BBC in work placements snub

The BBC has withdrawn plans to offer work placements for students taking T levels, in the latest blow for the government’s flagship new technical qualifications. Tes reports.

It has transpired that the BBC, which with more than 20,000 employees is one of the biggest public sector employers in the UK, had planned to offer industrial placements for students taking the T level in digital – one of the first wave of the qualifications due to be introduced in 2020 – as part of a pilot programme.

But an email seen by Tes reveals that the corporation has decided to withdraw. It states that the “need, dependencies and risks associated with having under 18s in our workforce” are “in our view significant and costly for this specific pilot”. 

Tes understands the BBC was involved in phase one of the pilot, which involved offering placements for four students in a software development team within the BBC design and engineering department based in Salford (pictured), but will not take part in phase two. 

The email adds: “The consensus by our director is that the BBC will withdraw from the phase two pilot at this time and observe the outcomes and findings other participating employers identify, after which we will review our position.” 

In June, the DfE’s director of professional and technical education, Jennifer Coupland,  said “We know this will be hard to deliver. We are starting early and we have launched the industry placement pilot scheme which is currently testing different models and approaches to delivering T level placements.”

Some employers who were already offering work-based learning feared an influx of T-level learners might lead to them reaching a “saturation point” in the amount of staff time they could spare on supporting learners.

Read more T levels: BBC in work placements snub

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