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What are T-levels?

This autumn, a brand-new technical qualification will launch in England. It’s called a T-level. So what is it?


T-levels are two-year courses that follow GCSE and are equivalent to three A-levels. The courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and business to ensure the content meets the needs of industry.

When they launch, T-levels will become one of the main options for students after GCSE alongside apprenticeships and A-levels. The T-level will give students the chance to combine classroom learning with on-the-job experience via an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). For example, if you’re interested in a career in the science field you could complete a Science T-level with Laboratory Sciences as the specialism.

When do T-levels start?

The first three T-levels are being rolled out in England from September 2020 at selected schools and other providers, with the Science T-level planned for September 2021.

What's the difference between a T-level and an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships and T-levels are based on the same set of standards designed by employers – but there will be differences in the overall content of each programme, to reflect the fact that apprenticeships are mainly delivered in the workplace, and T-levels in the classroom.

Apprentices will train for a single occupation, while T-level students will undertake a broader programme, gaining skills and knowledge relevant to a range of occupations. For example, if you’re interested in a career in the science field you could complete a Laboratory Technician apprenticeship or a Science T-level with Laboratory Sciences as the specialism.

At the end of their training, a successful apprentice will meet all the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard. T-level students will have developed a wide range of relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours and will be able to progress into employment, higher-level apprenticeships or higher-level study.