Construction has been selected as one of the first three T-levels to be developed by the government as part of plans unveiled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond last year
T-levels will be offered as an alternative to A-levels for students of a more practical than academic disposition.
Education secretary Justine Greening announced that the first three T-levels would be in construction, digital technology, and education & childcare. More T-level qualifications will follow on, in subjects such as manufacturing, engineering, legal, finance and accounting.
Greening said: “As part of making sure that the technical education ladder reaches every bit as high as the academic one, I want to see T-levels that are as rigorous and respected as A-levels.”
The content of T-levels will be developed by newly appointed panels comprising industry professionals and employers, including Morgan Sindall and Skanska.
All T-level programmes will also include a substantial work placement so that students can apply their learning in a real workplace environment.
The Department for Education has set up industry panels for each T-level course. Julian Weightman, chairman and owner of Border Craft Group, is chair of the construction panel – an appointment welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
“Julian has 18 years’ experience in the building sector and runs a small building firm in Hexham, northeast England,” said FMB chief executive Brian Berry.
“Construction SMEs train two-thirds of all apprentices and make up 98% of the construction industry so it’s vital that the new T-levels work for small builders. Julian is committed to increasing the quality of vocational education and over the past two years, he successfully chaired the bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeship trailblazer group. Julian will be able to bring this recent experience to the table when leading on the development of the construction T-level, which arguably, will be even more challenging.”
Berry added: “One of the biggest potential stumbling blocks for the T-level initiative will be the required amount of work experience for each young person. T-levels will rely on all students being able to complete three months’ work experience with an employer in their second year. Given that CITB statistics show the number of young people in construction-related further education far outweighs the number of apprenticeship places being offered by employers we need to find a solution to this problem.”
Other construction-related T-level panels will be chaired by Dayle Bayliss of Dayle Bayliss Associates and David Matthews of the Institute of Domestic Heating & Environmental Engineering.
The full T-levels action plan is available here.