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Government urged to 'avoid Apprenticeship Levy mistakes' in T levels

15 April 2019

Lack of awareness for the new T level qualifications has been highlighted by a recent survey conducted by manufacturers' association Make UK.

As a result, the association is calling for the government to address concerns over the proposed qualifications, which are intended to provide A level equivalents for technical subjects.

It is essential for the government to work more closely with business, said Make UK, to avoid repeating mistakes made with the Apprenticeship Levy, "which was rushed in without proper consultation".

Launched with the aim of driving increased levels of apprenticeships, the number has continued to fall since its introduction and has received criticism from many organisations.

The new T level qualifications are due to be launched in 2022, but Make UK has said the lack of information has led to concern over how key elements will be implemented.

The organisation's head of education and skills policy Verity Davidge said there is industry support for the introduction of T level qualifications to "deliver the practical and technical skills industry so desperately needs", as well as assisting those seeking to gain proven vocational standards.

"However, the introduction of T levels is another fundamental change to our education system which has been subject to constant chop and change, often leaving employers bemused.

"Currently, there is a worrying lack of awareness amongst industry with low levels of knowledge even amongst those who have heard of them," she said.

In addition to calling for more consultation with industry to increase awareness, Ms Davidge said failing to engage with employers meant the introduction could see the programme fail, "particularly when it comes to offering mandatory work placements".

With 65% of respondents stating they were unaware of T level qualifications within the Make UK survey, a further 28% said they had "limited knowledge" of them.

Additionally, 42% said they were unaware what would be required for those providing mandatory work placements within the new scheme.

However, 33% of respondents said they would be prepared to offer work placements in their current form, with 21% stating they would be willing to offer these if they were more flexible.

Agreement that T level students should move onto higher level apprenticeships was expressed by 43% and 30% suggested they should go onto higher education.

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