Industry placement models and sequencing


This resource explains how to plan, develop and select industry placement models that will best meet the needs of students, education providers and employers.  

It will help you to consider: 

  • the alternative possible models 
  • how to establish effective planning processes and partnerships 
  • flexibilities in placement models and sequencing.  

Who is it for? 

Industry placement teams; employer engagement teams; curriculum teams; student support teams; senior management; external stakeholders.

How to use this resource 

Consider each section in relation to your own student, organisation and T Level needs, and explore how effective planning and adaptability can ensure they align with specific business needs: 

Models: How industry placements can be tailored to meet specific requirements and opportunities, using a range of flexible models. 

Planning: How simple steps, clear communication and collaborative planning can provide the best experience for everyone involved. 

Sequencing: T Levels, students and employers vary. Industry placements need to recognise these differences and be adaptable. 

1 . Models 

Industry placements provide valuable human resources for employers and invaluable experience to students, who are developing and securing technical expertise and workplace skills in preparation for rewarding technical careers. 

By using an appropriate model, an industry placement can meet a range of business needs: 

  • a welcome new perspective and extra pair of hands on a technical project 
  • a reliable resource at set times to help to complete important tasks which may otherwise have been neglected 
  • timely additional support when staff expect to be under pressure  
  • a valuable replacement team member when staff are redeployed or on the day/s your apprentice attends college 
  • an opportunity to develop management skills within your teams, by taking on responsibilities for the technical student’s contributions, training and development 

There are three basic alternative placement models, with each one able to flexed in terms of the duration and timing: 

  • Day release 
  • Extended block 
  • Mixed 

Consider how the different models or innovative combinations, could be aligned to meet your employers’ business needs and how dynamic workplace schedules and project cycles could integrate within an overall T Level learning programme. 

You’ll be aiming for industry placement models which allow you to meet the needs of individual students and employers and which will also be practical for you and your organisation in terms of how the curriculum is structured, taught and resourced.


Day release

When this model might work:

  • To help establish the student’s workplace confidence and value to the business 
  • Where a reliable, steady pattern may suit business needs  
  • Where regular tasks need do be done e.g. supporting weekly quality assurance processes or compliance reporting  
  • Where supervision time may need to be spread 
  • To provide a useful replacement when the employer’s apprentice is in college, or other staff members off-site 

Extended block

When this model might work:

  • Where the student has learned some of the employability focused curriculum and is ready for placement  
  • Where the employer may have high levels of demand at specific times 
  • For employer-specific project-based assignments and working patterns 
  • Where employer teams would benefit from reliable technical support staff (and students are quite advanced in their T Level skills development) 
  • For seasonal industries and occupational roles where the student would get the most benefit from the placement  


When this model might work:

  • Where day release supports induction, awareness and understanding of workplace requirements, with more extended periods as confidence develops 
  • To respond to employer pressure points and unpredictable workflows 
  • To provide highly flexible technical support staff to the employer 
  • Where work may be part-seasonal, or where project scales vary depending on business cycles  


2. Planning 

By setting clear parameters and managing expectations, employers will quickly recognise the value of having student technical support staff deployed within their organisations. 

Work with employers to establish a clear and collaborative process, communicating clearly and honestly about needs, commitments and contributions. 

Follow a flexible process that listens to and appropriately balances employer, student and your needs, so that industry placements will be valuable for everyone. Different models and approaches to delivery are also permitted.  

Step 1  

Initial planning 

Step 2  

Modelling options 

Step 3  

Using evidence 

  1. Set out the process, model options and possibilities 
  2. Map out the basic T Level structure and curriculum content  
  3. Identify assessment opportunities and periods 
  4. Consider other constraints and the wider delivery context (e.g curriculum plans; progress review stages and measures; holiday periods; resources available)  
  1. Identify flexibilities and spaces which remain 
  2. Review T Level performance and achievement requirements 
  3. Model the available options, flexibilities and contingencies 
  4. Establish preferred options and proposals to be refined and reviewed in consultation with students; internal teams; employers 
  1. Consider the student’s progress and development 
  • core knowledge and understanding 
  • core skills in practice  
  • English, Maths and Digital competence 
  • advanced, occupational specialism skills 

   2. Consider the student’s profile 

   3. Align student                     readiness with                   employer needs  


Step 4  

Consulting others 

Step 5  

Engaging the employer 

Step 6  


  1. Communicate plans and options with relevant staff/teams 
  2. Confirm student and your commitments, pressures and challenges 
  3. Identify challenging or unhelpful periods to avoid 
  4. Confirm necessary preparation time and any pre-placement student development needs 
  1. Explore employer requirements, pressures and outlook 
  2. Engage employers in candid, constructive discussions about options, benefits and expectations 
  3. Encourage the student and employer (with relevant staff) to discuss options and expectations 
  4. Maintain student and employer profiles that support well-informed matching of needs and requirements 
  1. Negotiate and agree plans with a clear sense of the options, objectives and shared benefits 
  2. Be flexible, creative and solutions-focussed 
  3. Maintain good communication and regular contact  
  4. Explain the ongoing support and wide range of resources available for each stage 


3. Sequencing 

Industry placement sequencing depends on the requirements of each particular T Level programme, student readiness and commitments, and employer’s specific pressures and requirements. 

Good communication, appropriate planning, and consideration of specific commitments and pressures for all parties will help balance these factors and deliver benefits for everyone involved. 

For some occupational specialisms sequencing the industry placement after specific skills have been taught is another consideration. For example, it may be essential for students who’ve chosen an On-site Construction specialism to learn basic construction handskills before starting the placement. You should be explicit about any pre-entry requirements for students so that providers can sequence learning to meet the requirements.  

You can develop calendar templates to plot out, agree and clearly communicate key commitments, progress and availability. Calendars can be personalised to support planning with each party’s needs and requirements clearly represented and accessible. 


  • develop multi-layered calendar templates (informed by evidence from individual learner and employer profiles) to help you identify, select and adapt the most appropriate placement models 
  • use them as the basis for discussion, confirmation and agreement of the most suitable models, supporting quality, flexibility and good communication 
  • use them to confirm the placement sequencing and to respond effectively to changing circumstances and new information. 

Developing simple models for your organisation can help you to: 

  • communicate what will have been covered and when  
  • confirm progress with core knowledge and understanding, and technical skills development and emerging competencies in the Occupational Specialism/s 
  • anticipate the level of industry-specific knowledge, understanding and expertise the student will have developed by particular stages 
  • identify other student commitments, such as assessment preparation and assessment opportunities (e.g. specific exam dates; assessment windows) 
  • provide advance notice of specific employer pressures, specific projects, and periods likely to require additional resourcing 
  • confirm how student and centre commitments align with employer needs and priorities 

 Important, inter-dependent information to collect includes:  

  • available periods
  • level of technical proficiency 
  • performance evidence and operating standards 
  • specific strengths and interests 
  • potential student contributions in the workplace 
  • employer needs, projects and priorities 
  • staff availability 
  • specific support needs
  • which model 
  • why
  • potential sequencing and timing 
  • how choices align with student readiness and development opportunities
  • how options align with an employers resource and project needs 

 Employers appreciate clarity, simplicity and certainty in planning and communications. Representing key stages and structural elements visually (see below) will help your teams to plan, communicate clearly, manage expectations and negotiate appropriate industry placement models. 

Develop and use your own calendars, accessible to all relevant teams (e.g. industry placement; curriculum; student support), to help to agree and communicate student availability, different opportunities, progress and preparations, so that they can be developed collaboratively and are responsive to needs. 

Clarity, honesty and excellent communication will ensure all parties are confident about the student’s availability, commitment and capabilities, and their areas for technical development and support.  

These types of tools will help your organisation and your specific teams to communicate and confirm the nature of the student’s contribution to specific workplace contexts and to specific businesses, projects, tasks, roles, and teams. 

Industry placement models and sequencing 

The example attached to the bottom of this article illustrates a possible model and sequencing for industry placements, as a visual aid to planning. The size of the arrows denotes the significance of the various components at different times throughout the 2 year T Level programme.   

As part of your curriculum planning you’ll be considering how different timings and durations for industry placements will work for students and their learning; for employers and their business needs; and for you and your resources.

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