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News & opinion

28 JUN 2019

What do T-Levels mean for education in surveying

T-Levels are new vocational, technical programmes designed with employers to give young people the skills that industry needs.

The aim is that 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.

RICS have 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?

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

How many T-Levels are there?

T-Levels cover 15 industry areas, but each industry area will not itself be a T-Level qualification. There will be several T-Level qualifications within each area to reflect the range of occupational specialisms each area covers.

For surveying the Design, Surveying and Planning T-Level qualification is just one qualification within the overall Construction industry area.

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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.

RICS involvement

RICS are involved with the Design, Surveying and Planning T-Level alongside an employer panel chaired by Dayle Bayliss FRICS.

The process has taken over a year and was based around a collaborative approach with partners from across the construction and built environment.

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 information on T-Levels on the government's website.

T-Levels: the role of employers

A fundamental requirement of all T-Levels is a chosen industry placement, so employers will need to start planning how your business can offer a tailored work placement.

RICS will be providing guidance around T-Levels and work experience to help employers prepare, so watch this space.