Reformed as part of the government’s Skills for Jobs commitment to help the UK through its pandemic-hit skills crisis, T Levels are an alternative post-16 technical qualification designed to target specific shortages.
They are available in a range of sectors, covering topics such as animal care, onsite construction, childcare, accounting, healthcare science, digital business services and HR.
The CIPD has backed the introduction of a financial incentive for the scheme, however it is also calling for more support for those looking to access it.
Speaking to HR magazine, CIPD head of public policy Ben Willmott said: “The government needs to consider how to provide adequate support and guidance for employers, to help ensure that T Level work placements are of good quality and well structured.
“In addition, there needs to be a greater support for marketing these new qualifications to employers, to ensure there is greater awareness of T Levels and the potential they provide for tackling technical skills shortages and boosting talent pipelines.”
In lieu of further support, what do you need to do if you are looking to host a T Level student?
Structure of a T Level
A dedicated site has been launched for businesses looking to use the T Level scheme, and the first port of call is to express an interest via phone call or through filling out the contact form.
The second step then is to find a suitable student, which requires employers to link up with a local college or school.
Once a student, or students, have been selected, employers need to work with their educational partner to make sure they have the right policies and insurance in place.
From there, the school or college takes over to help set the terms of the placement – when and how it will be delivered and setting objectives.
The government has published an Employer Guide for any business looking to set up T Level placements.
As a starting point, it advises three points for consideration:
- The bigger picture: How are we performing as an organisation? What are we aiming to achieve, and over what timescales?
- Skills needs and gaps: What are the strengths and weaknesses in our workforce? Where are the gaps? What do we need to be successful in terms of skills, knowledge, experience, and diversity?
- Action: How might we fill these gaps? Through development, recruitment or maybe other external resources? When do we need to fill these gaps?
There is also advice for planning and preparing for each placement, what to do during and what is needed at the review and evaluation stage afterwards.
More on skills:
Cost to the employer
It is up to the employer whether or not students will be paid. There is no legal requirement to pay students while on a placement, but the government recommends they pay at least the National Minimum Wage for the duration of the term.
The £1,000 government incentive for each placement has been set up to support businesses who have been impacted by the pandemic and can be claimed for up to 20 T Level students from 7 May 2021 until July 2022.