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News & opinion

6 NOV 2018

T levels explained and their impact on surveying

The Government has called T-Levels “the most ambitious post-16 education reforms since the introduction of A-levels 70 years ago.”

T Levels were first announced in 2015,and RICS has been involved in the design of one of the first T Levels that will be available in 2020 - Design, Surveying and Planning.

T Levels: what are they?

T Levels are new vocational, technical programmes designed with employers to give young people the skills that industry needs. They will give students aged 16 to 18 a technical alternative to A levels.

T Levels will provide a mixture of:

  • technical knowledge and practical skills specific to their chosen industry or occupation
  • an industry placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation
  • relevant maths, English and digital skills
  • common workplace skills

A T Level is expected to last around 1,800 hours over two years (including the industry placement of at least 45 days). This is a significant increase over most current technical education programmes.

Students who achieve a T Level will get a certificate recognised nationally by employers which will set out what they have achieved as part of the programme.

Watch the governments video overview of T-Levels.

How many T Levels are there?

T Levels cover 15 industry areas and far more occupational specialisms with in those.

Students will learn a broad core knowledge and practical skills relevant to all occupations in their chosen industry whilst also developing specialist technical skills relevant to at least one occupation.

Each industry area will not itself be a qualification there will be several qualifications within each area to reflect the range of occupations each area covers. For example the Design, Surveying and Planning qualification is just one qualification within the Construction industry area.

T Levels are being designed by employers with RICS leading on the Design, Surveying and Planning T Level. The process has taken over a year and was based around a collaborative approach with partners from across the construction and built environment.

When will they be available to study?

The very first T Level subjects will be taught from September 2020 in more than 50 colleges and other education and training providers, which means children who entered year 10 in September 2018 will be the first to be able to study them. In time, T Levels are expected to replace many of the vocational and technical education qualifications currently offered to post-16 technical education students.

One of the first subjects that can be studied in 2020 will be Design, Surveying and Planning, which RICS had a key role in designing. This qualification will not link to or allow direct progression to Associate RICS, but successful students may progress onto other surveying qualifications or an apprenticeship. T Levels have been allocated UCAS points, the amount of UCAS points allocated depends on the size of the T Level studied and the grade achieved.

T level frameworks
T Level framwork

This was a chance to start afresh and develop an outline content that was ambitious and challenging but equipped young people with the foundation skills to follow the rewarding career that many of us recognise. The panel would often hear me talk of a utopian world where we have been given the unique task to shape and change construction vocational training from the bottom up and revolutionise the sector so that it is fit for the future, innovative, inspirational and addresses those skills challenges.

Dayle Bayliss FRICS

RICS involvement

RICS are involved with the Design, Surveying and Planning T level, which will be one of the first available from 2020. This T Level was designed by an employer panel chaired by Dayle Bayliss FRICS.

The process has taken over a year and Dayle says that “this truly was a once in a generation opportunity to reform technical education, not just reworking what has been delivered in the past. A collaborative approach where industry was to lead the way in what technical education from 2020 should look and feel like, a partnership for current and future needs in key sectors.”

Find out more on the Government's website