T Levels launched in September 2020 as a new qualification choice that follow GCSEs and give students a head-start towards the career they want.
Posted Mon 4 April 2022 - 14:15

The courses were developed with leading employers to ensure that young people gain the knowledge and skills that businesses need.

A T Level is equivalent to three A levels and will attract UCAS points. They combine classroom study (80%) with a substantial industry placement (20%) and will support young people to progress into an entry-level skilled job, a higher apprenticeship or on to further study, including at university.

2022 is a big year for T Levels, with the first cohort due to graduate and progress into the next stage of their journey, whether this be employment, university, college or an apprenticeship. All these options are open to these students, and UCAS is here to support across all these pathways.

The question we are often asked is will universities and colleges accept T Levels for entry to undergraduate courses? But is this the right question to ask? Instead, perhaps the question should be how do we support T Level students in understanding the full range of options and pathways available to them.

The introduction of T Levels alongside the implementation of the post-16 review of qualifications, are the biggest reforms to qualifications in England since the decoupling of the AS and introduction of reformed A levels, leading to structurally different A levels across the UK. While these reforms were at the forefront of the minds of the secondary and higher education sector, the introduction of T Levels doesn’t seem to have the same spotlight – and it should.

The introduction of T Levels provides universities and colleges with the opportunity to review their policies in relation to vocational and technical qualifications. While we know traditionally that these qualifications are uncommon at the most selective providers, T Levels offer an opportunity to think again, innovate and develop new progression pathways – such as Higher Technical Qualifications.

T Levels won’t offer progression to every route, just as A levels alone don’t. The important thing here is that students know this when selecting their Level 3 options. Recent research as part of our ‘Where next?’ series suggests that one in five unintentionally closed a door to a desired pathway due to their qualification choice, and more than one in four would have made different GCSE/National 5 choices had they known what their degree course involves – and around a third would choose different post-16 options.

UCAS has a key role to play here – we support students in exploring all their post-secondary options, with our apprenticeships search tool, Career Finder, being used 2 million times in the last year. We give tailored information and advice to students based on their background and educational context, guiding them through their journey, and T Level students are no different. Our aim is to ensure that these students are just as informed and supported as their A level counterparts, and able to understand and access the full range of opportunities available to them, as we seek to build true parity.

The rollout of T Levels will not be without its challenges. But with this comes a great opportunity to ‘level up’ technical and vocational education. The more the education sector does now to champion T Llevels, the more likely they are to be a success for students. 

T Level resources for teachers and advisers

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