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Introduction to the T Level technical qualification webinar

This webinar offers guidance on technical qualification for schools and colleges who start delivering T Levels from September 2022. The webinar was delivered on 19 November 2020.

Video transcript

Okay. All right. I think we are probably ready to start.

Carmel, are you on the line?

I am Stella. I'm here. Can you hear me?

Yes I can. Fine I'll pass over to you.

Thank you very much.

This video is about uh, the technical qualification all of the institute, uh, in the qualifications part of the T Levels. Um, so just a bit of background, uh, the institute was originally set up back in 2017, and its responsibility then was to develop apprenticeship standards, but we expanded our role in early 2019 and we took on responsibility, for developing the qualifications, which sit at the heart of T Levels. And the apprenticeship standards are a key aspect in the formation of T Levels, where relevant level 3 standards are the basis of the occupational specialisms, which I'll talk about in a in a bit more detail.
So just just turning to the next slide, uh, I'm sure you'll all be very familiar with the T Level construct by now, but in case there's anybody on the line who isn't, uh just a quick uh recap, that these are two year courses they'll take place in a classroom based environment, in colleges and schools, um but obviously with a substantial industry placement for approximately a total of 3 months throughout the 2 years, and that placement will really bring to life those skills that we have embedded within the program, and have been designed by our employer panels again a bit of which more later.
Just moving on to the next slide, uh, thank you. This just sets the program, uh as a whole and demonstrates the how many parties are involved in the development of T Levels across the institute, the DFE and of course, uh, Ofqual. As you'd expect, uh, developing the T Levels is a hugely collaborative effort, um, we work very closely with the department, who retain overall, uh, responsibility for policy, for the industry placements and the transition programme. Uh and Ofqual, uh we work closely with, because they're responsible for requesting the qualifications. So just to give you a bit of a sort of timeline how, uh, qualifications come into being, uh just starting on that bottom left with the creation of the outline content, and this, this is the foundation of the core knowledge and skills which uh our employees that support us require from each qualification. We then move into a procurement phase where we invite awarding organizations, to develop the full qualification taking that original outline content, and turning it into a full specification sample assessment materials etc. That, that, development takes place uh, that to over about 12 to 15 months, in which the awarding body completes the development, and then the institute is responsible for approving the qualification and Ofqual for accrediting the qualification. And at that point, we then move into the longer term phase where the qualification moves into what we call contract management, but is essentially where the qualification is being delivered through your cells, in colleges and schools etc.

So that just summarizes possibilities that, so over the last 3 years, we've been working with a number, of uh, what we call T Level panels, so they are employer-led panels, we have one set up for each of the 24 T Levels, in place and those employers were recruited on the basis of their specific knowledge, of that content within the T Level particularly around some of the specialisms and they have developed the initial outline content using the apprenticeship standards I mentioned earlier.
We've had over 300 organizations that have been involved including employers, professional bodies, and providers, on some of our panels as well. So their role has been to set up the knowledge and skills requirements, uh, to undertake the specific occupations within each of the T Levels, and the content is then being considered and approved by a different set of employer panels, uh so that sort of check and balance, so, the route panels that I'm sure many of you heard of that support the institute, have been the ones that have looked at the content um before it's moved forward into the procurement phrase, phase I should say, not phrase.

So just moving on to that procurement piece, thank you.

I just wanted to quickly run through this, so as I've mentioned once the content's ready, we invite the awarding organizations to submit bids, for each of the four waves. So we started, back in 2018, with an invitation to tender for the first wave of T Levels. And we're now at the stage where we're actually in, um, wave three, of the procurement, uh where we are now in the development of the wave 3 T Levels. So wave 1 T Levels are now, out and running, in the first set of providers appointed for 2020. Wave 2, T Levels are nearly complete, and will be released to providers shortly. Wave 3, we're mid-development. And wave 4, uh, last month we just started the invitation to tender for the final set of T Levels in wave 4. That invitation to tender went out early November, similar process, we're inviting awarding organizations to bid to develop the full qualifications. Those contracts will be awarded, probably around Summer 2021. We're then back into that development phase, and then ready for providers to deliver, uh, from September 2023. So that's just a quick skim of how we appoint, uh, the, all the organizations. Uh, if I just move on to them a little bit more detail on developing the TQ.
As you can imagine, it's a, very wide collaborative arrangement that goes on spanning many organizations, uh, so the awarding, awarding organizations themselves who've won the contracts, they are required to engage their own employer panels and provide panels to test the materials throughout development, and ensure that meeting skill, employer skills requirements but also critically that providers are able to input, so that they're able to see how the development of qualification, um, and on the ground help be developed in their educational settings, so very important part of it and I'm going to come back at the end, uh, to an invitation to join uh, one of the panels for everybody anybody who's not had a chance to do so.
So, each each qualification it say takes around 12 to 15 months, to full, the range specialisms some of us, have quite a significant number of specialisms, if I take for example a Health and Science route, uh, whereas in our digital route, we've perhaps got a smaller number of specialisms, so that development is just adjusted to count as much. Um, basically what happens is that all the organizations they will submit drafts of the, key milestones so this includes things around their assessment strategies, the examinations, so for the core part of the program, uh, for the employee set project, for the occupational specialisms, uh, and a whole host of supporting materials. So quite a comprehensive set of materials that as you would imagine take some months to iterate, some months to mature, taking account of the employer feedback, so employees very much at the heart of inputting both in development, but also in validation as well and taking account of provider views as I've already mentioned. During this time we in the Institute, colleagues Ofqual and colleagues in the department, are working alongside the awarding organizations at each stage, making sure that those qualifications are running to time, addressing the feedback that our technical experts provide and at each stage are maturing ahead of the final milestones. In terms of support providers, what we also do throughout development is release draft materials, to providers, so that they can see how the qualifications are evolving. We do this probably starting around 4 or 5 months into development so that we've got a good set of products to release but, when we do release those they are heavily caveated, they're clearly at a very uh, early stage uh, and as you will appreciate trying to, to get the to the final stage takes an awful lot of work.So, if you're seeing draft materials, um that, that caveat will be applied to them until they're finally approved, um and accredited. Thank you.
If you could just move on to the next slide which again is something I'm sure you're very familiar with, but I just thought it was worth recapping on this slide in terms of bringing it to life, with actually some of our TQs that we're bringing, that we're working on at the moment.
So, what we have here is the the core component the occupational specialisms I've mentioned before, that will take around 914 hours, time, within the classroom based environment, and the core is very much based on the particular sector industry. So if for example I took, one of our digital TQs, we have three of them one of them that has just been launched, that core component that you can see just looking at the blue box there on the left hand side, that core component will be about 50 percent of the time, a young learner would spend uh, building their knowledge, um, of the concepts etc, within the digital industry. Um, that would be assessed through examinations, but also at the heart of the core project and that employer set project, is designed by employers and it's refreshed throughout the life of the qualification, but that really brings together, um, sort of real scenarios that you would expect to see in a workplace. So a really exciting project, and that would be realistic and what a young learner would expect to see in the world of employment. Then they would move on to, uh, doing one of the specialisms, each T Level as I've mentioned has a different number of specialisms, so in digital for example um, they could be doing a digital infrastructure specialism, a data technician specialism, that would in the case of digital be around 50 percent of the time as well. The core and specialism percentages can vary but in digital it's roughly 50/50. And that really is bringing together the skills, the knowledge, the behaviours, and again replicating what we would expect them to see in the workplace. Again those specialists have been designed and validated, by, by employers and will continue to be refreshed throughout the life of the qualification. So, that's essentially the qualification part, that's the part the awarding organizations are responsible for. I'm not going to dwell, too much on the other aspect, very familiar with industry placement the Maths, English requirements etc, but that just shows you how the qualification fits into the program as a whole.
And if we just move on to the next slide which, hopefully will just give you a slightly different view using construction for example. So, this is our first construction T Level that was launched, uh, really excitingly uh in September, uh, and we're getting really good feedback uh both from providers and indeed young people who are already undertaking this which is really great to hear. So again, just to illustrate that's a percentage split, the core in this case uh, for the construction T Level in design sphere and planning, is approximately 50 percent, so students are undertaking um or sort of building up their knowledge and understanding of the construction sector, and then, at some point they will choose to do in this case one of four specialisms, that you can see on the right hand side, so surveying in the built environment, civil engineering, building services design, or hazardous materials. So, a student would take one of those, um at the bottom of that slide it does talk about that some qualifications may require two, that's quite unusual, um, we are working on one at the moment another construction one actually, building services engineering, that does have the potential for students to take up to two specialisms, um, but that it doesn't exceed the, the duration of one, so it's just the nature of that that particular T Level. So, that's the, uh, construction one and I say every T Level has a similar structure, so it has a core, it has a number of specialisms that vary from one or two, to perhaps seven or eight depending on the TQ, but students would all do the core and then all choose one specialism, a maximum of two in, on rare occasions.

If I may, I'll come back to questions at the end if that's, if that's all right, um, but do leave your hand up so, so we don't forget. And just quickly skimming through slide, the next set of slides, um so starting this just summarizes, the wave one to four, thank you. So wave one as I've mentioned, we launched these 3 T Levels in September, so the one I just mentioned Design, Surveying Planning for Construction, T Level in Digital Design, Digital Production Design Development, and T Level in Education and Childcare. So they were launched uh, really long, just really successfully, so, um so we're really excited about how, how well that's going. Moving on to our next slide of wave 2, we're just with Ofqual finalizing these final qualifications and uh they will be ready for publication by the new year, uh ready for teaching from next September 2021. So, we've got uh 2 more in Construction, as you can see here - Building Services Engineering, that was the one I mentioned that has some pairings of specialisms. We've got uh, final one in Construction - On-site Construction, 3 in the middle in Health and Science, so this is a new route and that's Digital Business Services, and Digital Support Services.

So that's wave 2, nearing completion in terms of development, wave three we've just started the development of these T Levels, so we awarded contracts, uh gosh back in October. Um, so wave 3 is, 3 in Engineering, as you can see on the left hand side, uh Maintenance Installation Repair, Manufacturing Processing Control, and Design and Development. Those 3 are being developed by City and Guilds. Then we've got 2 on the right-hand side: Accounting and Finance, they're being developed by Pearson and the final one at the bottom, T Level in Management and Administration, that's also being developed by City and Guilds.
And just moving on to wave 4, uh, so we've just started the procurement of these as I mentioned earlier, um inviting bids from awarding organizations for our final set of T Levels, which is 2 in the Agricultural route that you can see in green, uh another one in the Business Administration route which is in Human Resources, 2 in uh, oh craft, sorry Creative and Design route, which is Craft and Design, and Media, Broadcast and Production, one catering, one in beauty, and uh one bottom right in Legal Services. So, that will complete our wave 4 T Levels and that development will start next summer and then be ready for first teach from September 2023.
If I could just go on to the next slide please. Thank you. What we've listed here is just some key dates, um, uh for various T Levels, various events that the awarding organizations are holding, we do refresh these in the ESFA newsletter that goes out, so don't worry about we're already sort of out of date with one of them at the moment, but we'll continue to refresh those dates. And if we go on to the next slide uh, thank you, what we've listed here uh and I know the slides will be sent out to you, um, are useful resources from each of the awarding organizations who are developing uh the qualifications, uh so City and Guilds, NCFE and Pearson, so various resources there. You'll also be able to find the full qualifications, uh, from wave one, which have been approved and accredited. They will be on the NCFE and Pearson websites and as I said the wave two ones will be there shortly um, early in the New Year. But I just wanted to bring your attention, uh if I may, to the green box, the wave 3 Accounting and Finance, Pearson uh, are developing those 2 T Levels, which will be available from September 2022.
Uh, as I've mentioned at the heart of T Level development is their provider validation panel, as well as their employer validation panel, and they've very much welcome, expressions of interest from any providers who would like to join the provider validation panel. So, if you click on that link at the bottom that will take you straight to a Pearson information, point, where if you're happy to assist, they'd very much welcome that assistance. Just conscious of time, just skipping on to the next slide.
So this just summarizes the complete roll out from 2020 to 2023, across all of our 24 T Levels and the current awarding organizations who are responsible for that development, and where they're blank, that's why we're still in the procurement phase and we'll be awarding contracts in due course for those. Uh, my final slide, uh I'll find slower detail, is some final links, to the Institute website, the T Level website which I'm sure you, you're already looking at. In terms of the Institute website, what we have on there is, outline content. So for T Levels not yet complete, you will be able to see the outline content on there and to give you an indication of the scope of the T Level, the scope of the specialisms, etc. So hopefully you find that useful, uh, particularly for the later T Levels in 2020 through 2022, 2023 and if you're having, if you're not seeing draft materials you'll be able to get an indication of the content from there. Now, I'm very conscious of time, so I'm going to stop there and see if there are any questions.

Thank you.

Hi Carmel, we've got, had a couple of questions coming to the, chat box if you don't mind me reading them out for you?

That's fine, thank you Sophie.

Okay, so the first one we've had is, 'Alongside the core units, does the teacher select the specialist unit or can students? Can different students do different units'?

Thank you. Yes, so ultimately the provider uh, sort of provided the college to school they will determine which of the specialisms they're going to offer, so for example, I'm just now trying to, you know Health and Science one, in our Health one we've probably got about 5, 6 specialisms, it may be that a particular provider doesn't offer all of them, um, but the ones they do offer the student would then go on to choose which one they want to do. Hopefully that answers the question.

Thanks Carmel, and this um, there's been 3 more questions, but I they're all along a similar vein, the first one is um, 'Is there a reason there's no Sport and Active Leisure T Level'?

Okay. So, the 24 and I can see a couple more questions related to different subjects, so in terms of the 24 we currently have, um, they were set some time ago following on from the Sainsbury review which I'm sure you've seen, uh, mention of in, in the other uh, webinars.
Uh, there will, so that we're rolling those 24 out, we as, new standards become available, so as new apprenticeship standards become available, we then examine them to see whether they're suitable to offer in a, for a, T Level so not all Level 3 standards automatically get incorporated into a T Level, and reasons might be not suitable for teaching at 16 to 19, not suitable for classroom-based environment, and, but we're continuing to look at those working with the department on what future T Levels may be. So if there are to be future ones they will be consulted on as well.
We would, um, in turn, what the other key point is obviously making sure they're occupationally relevant, that there is an occupation that can we can turn into a specialism. So yes, although there are 24 that doesn't mean to say there are no others but that's how the program started and we'll continue to look at those. I think Stella's put something in there as well.

Are there any more questions?

There's just a couple, yeah, um, so one is asking about, um, what says, 'We're due to deliver Health and Science T Level in 2022, can we defer to 2023'?

Oh what in terms of teaching?


Um, I think I will hand that one across to, the, Stella if I may.

Hi, yes it's entirely up to, um, to you, it's entirely up to providers to decide when they begin introducing, uh, the T Levels that they want to offer. So if if you feel that you need an extra year to get ready, for particular ones then that's fine it's up to you to decide, but um it's really useful for us to know, when you're going to deliver which T Levels, um, so just let us know if you do decide to delay anything in your next return to the department.

Uh, I think there's one there as well on volunteering, Stella, that on in terms of industry placement. Hang on a minute. Sorry, it's just so, it's like lost track, it's just under the one about can we defer to 2023. Oh yes, 'So can volunteering being used for hours'?

Um, so yes it can, but it obviously still needs to sort of fit the the rules around placement, so um it still needs to be, um, subject specific to the specialism that the student has chosen, um, it still needs to help the student work towards the learning aims that have been agreed that they will achieve whilst on their placement. So yes, that's absolutely fine. Um, on the, DFE website on gov dot uk, there's, there's lots of, um, advice about industry placements and we published a guidance document, um, earlier on in the year. And Sophie, perhaps we could send the placement guidance document round, afterwards? Yes certainly, I'll be able to send that out along with the slides. Thank you. So there's lots and lots of information in that about, about what counts uh, towards a placement.

So there's, there's a question here about, 'Are there training sessions to support the completion of the implementation plan and statistical annex'? Um, Sophie I don't know if you have an answer to that we've obviously been doing lots of these sessions over the Autumn and presumably will carry on providing support for plans?

Yeah, so I think like Lynn's on the line as well. We actually ran a session in October, about um, the completion of the implementation plan and statistical annex. There's a copy of that available on the website and so I'll just type into the chat bar where the video is available and I'll also type in the email address which is the dedicated inbox for supporting, um, with help filling in the statistical annex.

Thank you Sophie. And obviously you've all got a contact in the SFA contact as well that you can speak to about, uh, support.

Um there's a question about, um, students who live in parts of the country where placements are not possible um, so um, so at the moment, uh, we are obviously rolling out in phases, um, we know so demand for placement overall is still relatively small so obviously we have 1300 students this year, so providers will have to find 1300 placements, so we don't expect there to be a huge problem for our first couple of, couple of cohorts, but obviously as time goes on and more we have more T Level students, and more placements are needed, um, more more employers will need to be brought in to offer those placements and as more providers join who are perhaps in parts of the country, where there are certain letters, there are, there are some challenges, um, in there for securing those placements.
I think that at the moment we feel, confident that for each of the T Levels placements should be um, able to be sourced, um, we've obviously provided CDF and, uh, to help providers get up to speed, way before they'll start rolling out T Levels and to help building capacity within, within their organizations and to build those links with employers. I think there's, um, there's also something about, uh, we've been talking to lots of providers recently about how to look for, uh, digital placements if they don't have sort of obvious digital employers and maybe we're thinking really hard about where to, where to look for some of those placements. You know most employers now have digital departments, um, and I suppose being a little bit more creative about how to source those placements. But we do understand that there are, there are certain places in the country, where it's difficult, um we have increased travel bursary funding, to help students travel, if they're on placements as part of the CDF, um, over the last couple of years to help them get a little bit further afield to get to the right kind of placement. So it's definitely something that we are aware of and we are trying to think about how we can help, providers who are in particularly difficult parts of the country. So it's, it's not our expectation that there'll be some students who can't pursue the careers that they want just because, um, they're living in a in perhaps a more rural part of the country. Sorry, that was a bit of a long way round answering that question, but I hope I got there in the end.

Uh, the final question here about, "What's the timeline for withdrawing other Level 3 provision?";
Um, so please have a look um, on our government website um, it's been published for the, um, qualifications review, um, so at the moment we are just gathering views and information as part of that call for evidence and consultation document, um and that will give you more um information about our plans, but at the moment the expectation is that funding will be withdrawn alongside the rollout of T Levels.
So, um, from 2023 onwards is the expectation, but obviously we are running an open competition and we do want to hear your views, um but I think we, we want to encourage uh students, to take up T Levels and therefore, uh we want to make sure that the qualification review runs in parallel to that. So I hope that answered that question.

Um, Stella, apologies. I'm going to have to go to another meeting, but I think most of the questions are around placements, um, and DFE issues but if there's anything else around the qualification, if people drop it in there, I will then come back and answer it, uh, later on.

That's great, thank you ever so much Carmel, thank you. Thank you, bye. I will stay on for a minute and see if I can now answer any more of these questions so there's another one here um, 'The health T Level and placements, um, about getting placements in hospitals and private practice'?
So, we are working with the health sector to set up arrangements and encourage various NHS trusts to become involved in placements. So I think again, we are confident that, um, placements can be sourced from the health sector, and we have, uh, plenty of good examples of where that's already happened as part of CDF placements or where providers have secured them, for their, um, sort of first cohort of students. I think clearly it's um, it's quite a big problem at the moment, uh, given uh COVID and restricted access to these kind of environments, so I think there's a particular problem at the moment, but it's something that we have seen um can work and really positive arrangements have been made with, um, local NHS trusts.

But you're saying there, 'Could you go along the lines of work with a local university'? Yes absolutely. So if, um, if, if, if that's a a place where you can find placements which fit the bill and fit with the T Levels that you're offering and with the learning objectives for those students that's absolutely fine. So there's a question here about the implementation plan, Lynn I don't know if you want to say something briefly about what is the implementation plan?

Yes, there's already a link to the, to the implementation plans in the chat, but we did some sessions a couple of, as Sophie said earlier in early October, a couple of them to outline exactly how they need to be completed, you can contact the email box that we've also put in the chat if you have questions about completing them, but the date is the 18th of December, for your first implementation plan please. Plus, a statistical annex which tells us which 2 Levels you plan to deliver when and for roughly how many students so that we can start the planning work with you.

Thank you Lynn.

And there's a question here about funding for 2022 providers to upgrade facilities so this is the capital program, uh, so we are hoping to announce plans really soon. You'll all be aware I'm sure of the spending review, that's been going on and, um, government departments are in sort of the final stages of agreeing settlements with the Treasury, so we are hoping to be able to launch a capital fund shortly and you'll get all the information through the usual channels. Um, but yes, that should be coming to you soon.

Um, so, what happens if students don't achieve their 315 hours of industry placement? So they do need to complete the 315 hours to get their T Level so um that's, Carmel showed you a slide earlier with all the different components of the T Level on it and clearly the industry placement is a really important part of that, um, so I think the provide providers need to make every effort to make sure that the student secures those 315 hours, and, and goes on the placement for that time. And so if they don't achieve it at the moment they don't get their T Level. If there are particular circumstances that mean that they can't complete their placement, then that requirement can be waived in those particular circumstances and the guidance that I mentioned earlier that Sophie um sent the link around for um sets out what those exemptions are, so things like illness, um, you know things like that, that mean they can't complete um. There is also for all elements of the T Level the ability for this student to retake parts that they haven't managed to achieve up to two years after they finish their college course. So, if, if for example a student is unwell in the summer term that they're meant to be on their placement, but they're able to to finish off the hours in the September afterwards or over the summer holidays or something, then they can do that and make up those hours, but all of that is in their industry placement guidance.

Last question here about replacing AGQs with T Levels and why can't the qualifications sit alongside each other? So again, a lot of that is in the, um, in the consultation document that I mentioned earlier, so please, um, read that that will set out all of that information. I think why can't they sit alongside each other the answer to that really is that, we're trying to simplify, um, the qualifications landscape there are an awful lot of qualifications out there but not all of them lead to positive destinations for students, and so you know there's a number of reasons why we want to simplify that and really sort of hone down on a couple of um, a couple of routes, uh that take students onto either to work or further study. But that consultation will give you all the information you need there. I think that's the end to most of the questions.
We will make sure that we check back, um to ensure that we have answered all of them if we haven't then we will send answers, um as part of the email that comes around with all the various other bits of information that we said we'd send you.
Sophie is there anything else that we need before we finish?

It's everything. I've just added one last little plug for the support with delivering to e-Levels website um because if there is anything that people aren't aware of, I'd recommend having a look on that site first of all, um, and if that doesn't answer your question you can always email us at routes readiness, which I'll just pop in the chat, um, but that's yeah, no that's everything.

Okay. All right. Thank you ever so much.

Um, a link to the consultation document, so if you're also able to send that round, that's the um, the qualifications review. I've just, posted it.

You've done it?

Oh you're all so quick. Okay, wonderful. All right, thank you very much to everybody for joining. I hope that was helpful and as Sophie said please do get in touch with us if you have any other questions.

Okay, thank you very much.

Webinar slides

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