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Budget boost to T Levels will help to address skills shortages

15 March 2017

There has been an enthusiastic reception to the £500m T Levels funding announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget statement last week from the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

Following criticism of other aspects of the Budget, most notably the increase in National Insurance charges for self employed workers, this highlights more positive aspects of the announcement.

There are 15 vocational categories included within the T Levels funding, which is intended to support vocational training.

The aim is to improve the UK's productivity rate, which will then assist in the creation of a more prosperous and inclusive society, said the BESA statement.

Training director Tony Howard said the move would help to underpin the association's work in addressing skills shortages and developing Trailblazer apprenticeships in England, in addition to driving training improvements in the rest of the UK.

Many aspects of the funding and the BESA initiatives will have further implications for the FM sector, particularly the hard services side of the industry.

Technical subjects will be given equal status with A levels to provide a more level playing field for students pursuing vocational studies within the T levels developed up to 2022.

An additional £300m was also announced to support 1,000 new PhD places and fellowships in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

This would see an increase of more than 50% for 16- to 19-year-old technical training students, including a high quality, three-month work placement.

Mr Howard said that T Levels "fit neatly" within government support for Trailblazer apprenticeships and this will add further assistance in attracting and developing new trainees.

“Apprenticeships are a natural progression from T Levels," he said.

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