Industry placements as part of the curriculum planning

This resource will help you to integrate industry placements fully within the T Level curriculum.  

T Levels should build progressively towards occupational readiness by enabling students to develop:  

  • a broad understanding of the industry or sector they are interested in 
  • core knowledge, understanding, and skills 
  • more advanced, occupationally specialist knowledge, understanding and technical skills proficiencies 
  • employability skills and positive professional attitudes 
  • English, maths, and digital competencies 

Industry placements can contribute to all of these and support overall achievement of T Levels. As well as being compulsory, they are an invaluable and irreplaceable part of T Level learning because working in a focused, productive way with an employer provides multiple opportunities for students to: 

  • convert knowledge into know-how
  • put principles into practice
  • turn theory into skills proficiency
  • translate understanding into professional expertise
  • transform interest and enthusiasm into autonomy and independence

Industry placements should be valuable for employers as well as students. For employers, T Level students are ‘technical personnel in training’. Placements provide employers with motivated and skilled individuals for a defined period, who are taking part in relevant, focused, advanced-level education and training.  

From this perspective, placements can be accurately described as an innovative, flexible support service by providers which helps to meet employers’ technical support needs.  

Workplaces are unique and experiences will be diverse and some flexibility will be required to map to your curriculum and student and employer needs. But good preparation and clear expectations should enable your organisation to plan and deliver high-quality placements, which: 

  • help students to develop relevant, up-to-date knowledge, skills and behaviours in the workplace 
  • provide real benefits to employers working with ‘technical personnel in training’. 

Who is it for? 

Staff involved in T Level curriculum design and delivery, employer engagement and industry placement staff. 

How to use this resource 

The resource has 2 parts: 

  • Balance the needs of students, employers and your organisation contains ideas for how to balance the needs of students, employers and your organisation when planning industry placements and aligning them to the T Level curriculum. Use this to develop an approach to planning industry placements which is flexible for students and employers, and practical for your organisation. 

  • Make industry placements an integral part of your curriculum planning contains ideas for how to link the different components of the T Level curriculum to industry placements. Use this to help you integrate T Level components as you plan and prepare students for their placements so that employers can support students appropriately with all relevant aspects of their learning and development. 

Balance the needs of students, employers and your organisation 

You’ll be aiming for a flexible approach to planning industry placements which allows you to meet the needs of individual students and employers. The approach must also be practical for you and your organisation in terms of how the curriculum is structured and the resources available to support industry placements.  Take a look at the Roles, Responsibilities and Collaboration resource to identify where people across your organisation will need to be involved. 

These 3 elements should be blended together to produce a flexible, practical approach:

  1. Student profile and needs
  2. Provider curriculum structure, timetable, resources
  3. Employer profile and needs

When it comes to planning the specifics of an industry placement, each student will have made their own progress against the T Level requirements and will have their own needs and preferences for the placement. Student profile will be made up of the specific educational and personal needs, which the industry placement should be designed to align with and take account of. It may include: 

  • specific aspects of knowledge and technical skill which the student should have the opportunity to apply 
  • employability and other personal skills and attributes which it would benefit them to develop during their time with the employer 
  • specific English, maths and digital competencies which can be practised and developed best in a work environment 
  • additional support or adjustments related to special educational needs and disabilities.  

Each employer will also be looking for different things from and for their placement students and will also have their own profile of needs and preferences. An employer profile may include: 

  • specific types of work they would like the student to carry out 
  • projects for students to be involved in 
  • technical skills which they would like the student to bring and/or develop during their time on placement 
  • development needs for their staff and line managers that could be met through their involvement in managing or mentoring students.  

Ideally, profiles should be prepared for each student-employer combination before the placement starts and monitored during the placement. This is especially valuable in the early days when T Levels are new, and it should be feasible for small numbers of students. As cohort and class sizes grow, you may be able to balance the requirement for a personalised approach building on your experience from planning previous placements to align placements with your curriculum structure, timetables and resources. 

Student and employer profiles will help you to make sure that expectations for the placement are clear, learning objectives are appropriate, and that students and employers will both benefit. They should allow you to confirm confidently: 

  • what the placement offers to individual T Level students 
  • what students can contribute during their time with the employer

Make industry placements an integral part of your curriculum planning

T Levels are designed by industry. The curriculum, components and assessments in T Levels are aligned to industry standards. The knowledge, skills and behaviours in the core and occupational specialisms are what employers are looking for in their employees. For all these reasons, high-quality industry placements are an effective way to support employers’ immediate technical needs and the development of their future workforce. 

They are also the reason why industry placements should be aligned to the structure and aims of each T Level. Because the different components of T Levels complement and reinforce each other, linking placements to these components should motivate students to improve their knowledge, skills, performance and outcomes throughout all their time with the employer.   

You will also need to consider carefully when the placement actually takes place in the academic year and what model(s) will be used i.e. block/day release. Refer to the Industry Placement Models and Sequencing resource for more suggestions. 

The table below suggests how T Level components and content can be linked to workplace contexts and gives examples to illustrate these links. 

The following questions should be asked during the industry placement planning process:

  • When will this content be delivered?  
  • Can certain content be prioritised and/or aligned with a specific placement period? 
  • What are students’ starting points? 
  • How far advanced will the student be by the end of the placement?  
  • Which specific aspects of knowledge and skills will the students have been clearly able to demonstrate?  

T Level components  


Core technical content 

When planning placements, consider students’ progress and development in core topic areas or subsets of core content for each T Level.  

  • Application of safety, health and environmental practices in the workplace (T Level in Science) 
  • Manual and CAD drawing techniques, applications, and use (T Level in Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning). 

English, maths and digital competencies 

These competencies are highly valued in the workplace. They are mapped across all T Level specifications. They should inform discussions with employers about meeting needs and placement timing options. 

During the planning process, identify how to develop and support individual students’ interests, strengths and aptitudes in these competencies. 


  • Convey technical information to different audiences  
  • Synthesise information. 


  • Measure with precision 
  • Understand data and risk. 


  • Design, create and edit documents and digital media 
  • Code and program. 

Core skills  

These skills are introduced early in the curriculum as part of the foundation core content. They can be developed and formally assessed during industry placements through employer-set projects, in response to a realistic employer brief.  

These briefs can provide you with valuable information for planning placements. This information should help to match students with suitable employers and placements which meet their specific needs. 

  • Problem-solving 
  • Project management 
  • Primary research 
  • Working with others 
  • Evaluate and quality assure. 

Occupational specialism 

Students should be given opportunities to apply relevant skills, methodologies and practices which they have learned about though the curriculum, during their industry placements. 

Students need to demonstrate clearly defined levels of competence against the relevant performance outcomes for their programmes to achieve the T Level qualification. 

During the planning process you should: 

  • consider the key performance outcomes for the relevant occupational specialism 

(Note: Digital T Levels students can undertake a placement that offers the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills studied at route level (e.g. relevant to any of the Digital pathways), rather than those only relevant to their particular specialism. This should allow greater access to meaningful Digital placements.) 

  • confirm individual students’ progress against the defined knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviours  
  • plan how to provide secure evidence of these outcomes through students’ work during the placement, including work on employer-defined projects.  

These examples relate to the Engineering and Manufacturing T Level: 

  • Analyse requirements, specifications and technical information  
  • Plan and prepare, taking into account the specific requirements and context 
  • Review and evaluate activities to help improve workplace systems and processes … demonstrating commercial awareness and accountability. 


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