T-Levels

T Levels

A Career-Focused Alternative to A Levels

T Levels are a BRAND NEW post-GCSE qualification designed to take your future to the next level.

Launched in September 2020, T Levels have been introduced by the government to build a skilled workforce for the future, and give you another option when you finish school or college.

Read this guide for everything you need to know to get your head around T Levels.

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What are T Levels?

T Levels are Level 3 qualifications (equivalent to three A Levels) that take two years to complete.

Students who complete them can go straight into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship. Yippee!

Focusing on vocational skills, they’ve been developed by employers to make sure that what you learn meets the needs of industry and prepares you for the world of work.

(And yes, the T does stand for Technical.)


“This is a really exciting time to be taking these pioneering new qualifications and will ensure you stand out from the crowd when looking to get on in your career.” Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills (2020)

Watch this epic promo video to find out more about T Levels...

How are T Levels structured?

T Level students spend 80% of their time in the classroom, learning the theory and practical skills. And the other 20% putting this into practice on an industry placement.

The classroom learning time takes place at a school, college or with a training provider. You’ll study core theory, concepts and skills relating to the industry, before focusing on one or more occupational specialism(s).

For the industry placement, you’ll work directly with an employer for a minimum of 315 hours (approx. 45 days). Depending on your employer, the placement will be completed as a block of time, a series of day releases or a combination of both.

You’re unlikely to get paid for your placement due to its short duration, but your provider will receive financial support from the Government for investing in you, so it’s worth asking. They may, for instance, support costs like travel or lunch.

Also, if you start before your 19th birthday you won’t have to pay any tuition fees!


“The theory is really good, but being able to see things in person makes it more real and it’s helped when I’m back in the classroom. It’s also helped with my assignments as I can use things I’ve done on placement as examples.” Tom, Bolton College

What T Level subjects are available?

Below is a list of all the T Levels that are currently available, and a timeline of T Level subjects coming in the future.

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction
  • Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Education and Childcare

September 2021

  • Building Services Engineering for Construction
  • Digital Business Services
  • Digital Support and Services
  • Health
  • Healthcare Science
  • Onsite Construction
  • Science

September 2022

  • Accounting
  • Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • Finance
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Management and Administration

September 2023

  • Animal Care and Management
  • Agriculture, Land Management and Production
  • Catering
  • Craft and Design
  • Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics
  • Human Resources
  • Legal
  • Media, Broadcast and Production
t-level subjects

How do T Level grades work?

You’ll need to complete the following THREE elements to achieve a T Level:

  • Technical qualification
  • Industry placement with an employer
  • Minimum standard in English and Maths (Level 2 Functional Skills or GCSEs if not yet achieved), and digital skills if required.

On successful completion, you’ll be awarded a nationally-recognised certificate with a breakdown of your achievements.

T Level grades are given as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*.

Your grade will be calculated from a ‘core’ component (A*-E), and one or more ‘occupational specialism’ components (pass, merit or distinction), combined to form your final grade.

If you don’t pass every element, you’ll get a T Level statement of achievement showing the elements you completed.

Read the Government’s introduction to T Levels for the inside scoop on how they work.


What’s the difference between a T Level and an apprenticeship?

Good question. The truth is, T Levels and apprenticeships are pretty similar.

Both offer a mixture of on-the-job experience and classroom learning. And both are designed by employers to train students in the skills they’re looking for.

The main difference is the time split. Whilst an apprentice spends most of their time at work, a T Level student is mostly based in the classroom.

T Levels:
80% classroom learning, 20% industry placement

Apprenticeships:
80% on-the-job, 20% classroom learning

Not sure which is the right fit for you?

It all comes down to whether or not you have your heart set on a specific career.

Apprenticeships are great if you know exactly what career you want, and prefer a more hands-on approach to learning. (Find out more in our riveting guide to apprenticeships.)

But if you can’t decide between hairdressing and aerospace engineering, T Levels offer a chance to test-drive a career BEFORE you commit.

should i do a t-level

Why choose T Levels?

“It has changed me as a person, it really has. I was really scared about leaving college. I didn’t know how it was going to work out or how I was going to get a job. Now I’m passionate and excited about my future. This has been massive for me.” Kiran, Walsall College

If Kiran’s rousing words weren’t enough to inspire you, here are a few more reasons why T Levels are a terrific alternative to A Levels...

Get Ahead in your Career

Your 45-day placement is an opportunity to develop your skills in a real work environment, whilst continuing your studies.

You’ll work on real projects, gaining valuable experience to put on your CV, building a network of useful contacts AND finding out if your chosen career is what you imagined.

Hear what real-life T Level students thought of their placement in this video:

Develop the Skills Employers Want

Created by businesses, T Levels equip you with the exact knowledge and skills you need to thrive in the workplace.

Around 300 employers have been involved in developing T Levels, ranging from small local businesses to multinational corporations like Fujitsu and Skanska.

Gain Qualifications That Count

When you pass your T Level, you’ll get a nationally-recognised certificate detailing your grades and what you learned on the course.

T Levels are also worth UCAS points (a T Level Distinction* is equivalent to 3 A Levels at A*). So if you want to keep studying afterwards, there’s nothing stopping you from applying to university or other higher education programmes.


How to apply for T Levels

Reckon T Levels sound like the best thing since holes in cheese?

T Level applications are submitted directly to the provider - a process that’s as easy as 1, 2, 3...

1) Find schools and colleges near you offering T Levels.
2) Check their website to find out the entry requirements for your chosen course.
3) Research the employers involved in designing the qualification.

And that’s all there is to it!


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