The purpose of the T Level Technical Qualification is to ensure students have the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to progress into skilled employment or higher level technical training relevant to the T Level.
The Post-16 Skills Plan, published in 2016, set out the Government’s ambition to reform technical education by streamlining the system and introducing qualifications that provide a clear line of sight to occupations, whether directly or via further study.
T Levels are a post-16 study programme at level 3, based on employer-led standards. T Levels are comprised of the following compulsory elements: a Technical Qualification (TQ), which includes core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area (the TQ Core Component) and specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career (the TQ Occupational Specialist Component); an industry placement with an employer; level 2 maths and English qualifications (eg GCSE); and any additional mandatory requirements.
The first T Levels were introduced in September 2020 and will be phased in over four years. They will provide a pathway for students into skilled employment and prepare students to progress into higher education in related technical study.
More information on T Levels can be found at:
T Levels form part of wider reforms to technical education which will ensure that every funded qualification at level 3 and below has a distinct purpose, is high quality and supports progression to positive outcomes for students.
More information on the DfE’s Review of Post-16 Qualifications can be found at:
T Levels fall under the oversight of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and the Technical Qualifications are regulated by Ofqual.
Awarding bodies delivering T levels include:
City and Guilds
Each T Level Technical Qualification is offered by a single awarding organisation.
- NCFE CACHE
- Pearson (Edexcel)
- City & Guilds
T Levels are designed to be delivered over two years, with assessment in both the first and second years.
T Level courses comprise of:
- a technical qualification between 900 and 1400 hours
- a placement in industry of at least 45 days
- level 2 maths and English, e.g., GCSE
- other occupation-specific requirements or qualifications
Introduced in 2020:
- Education and Childcare
- Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction
- Digital Production, Design and Development
To be introduced in 2021:
- Digital Support Services
- Digital Business Services
- Onsite Construction
- Building Services Engineering for Construction
- Healthcare Science
To be introduced in 2022:
- Engineering and Manufacturing Design and Development
- Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing
- Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
- Management and Administration
To be Introduced in 2023:
- Agriculture, Land Management and Production
- Animal Care and Management
- Hair Beauty and Aesthetics
- Craft and Design
- Media, Broadcasting and Production
- Human Resources
- Level 3
Level 3 qualifications are regulated by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England.
Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*.
The T Level Technical Qualification comprises two separate components:
- Assessment is one or more written exams and an Employer Set Project, typically taken midway through the course.
The Occupational Specialism:
- A practical project or assignments, typically taken at the end of the course.
Both Technical Qualification components are assessed at level 3. Although the assessments may be taken at different points in the course, they assess separate content to a level 3 standard.
The Core is graded A*-E, and the Occupational Specialism is graded Pass, Merit, Distinction.
Overall T Level grades are based on the grade for each component of the Technical Qualification and the relative weighting of Guided Learning Hours.
Depending on when within their T Level course a student takes the Core and Occupational Specialism assessments, they may re-sit either or both during the course or following completion.
Guided learning hours comprise the hours for both components (Core and Occupational Specialism) of the Technical Qualification and a minimum of 315 hours for the industry placement. They do not include study towards level 2 English and Maths qualifications, as the need to attain these will vary by student.
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T Levels are level 3 qualifications, currently available to 16-19 year old students. Applicants are likely to have experience of external assessment, practical assignments and synoptic assessment.
The key issues for Higher Education to consider are:
- The roll-out of T Levels is phased and currently limited to approved providers. All planned T Levels will be available by 2023.
- To achieve a T Level grade (Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction*) a student must have achieved all components of their T Level.
- Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements and therefore don’t have an overall grade for their T Level may nevertheless have grades for both the Core and Occupational Specialist in the Techincal Qualification.
The timing of assessments will vary between T Levels. Results will be available mid-August in line with other level 3 qualifications.
Phased roll-out of T Levels means that additional T Levels will be delivered from 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The results T Level qualification(s) are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).
T Levels are designed to meet the entry requirements for higher education in related areas of technical study or for progression into skilled employment. Higher education courses may require specific levels of achievement in the Technical Qualification components.
Further information can be found at:
Links to awarding organisation websites and specifications: