Choosing what to do after your GCSEs is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make (other than deciding how to spend your first study-free summer).
The traditional options are A Levels, an apprenticeship or a vocational qualification like performing arts, but it’s okay if you’re not inspired by any of them.
Now, there’s a new option to consider: T Levels. Never heard of them? No problem, T Levels are very new. We’ll explain everything you need to know in this guide.
What are T Levels?
T Levels are a new qualification introduced in September 2020.
Each T Level is equivalent in size to three A Levels and takes two years to complete. During the T Level course, you’ll spend 80% of your time studying and 20% on an industry placement, which will last a minimum of 45 days. You can complete the industry placement in one block, on a day release or a mix of both. You can even split the placement between two employers.
The government introduced T Levels to bridge the gap between study-focused A Levels and placement-focused apprenticeships. You’ll gain the skills and confidence you need to begin your career, and you can enjoy a balance of hands-on and academic work.
What qualifications will I get with a T Level?
Although each T Level is equivalent in size to three A Levels, it’s worth noting that you won’t end up with A Level qualifications. You’ll get a T Level certificate that will have at least three different grades on it:
- Overall grade – This will be your overall grade for the T Level, and it’ll be marked as a pass, merit or distinction. The course provider will work this out based on your study and placement grades.
- Study grade – The grade you achieved in the study component of your T Levels, which will be graded from A* to E.
- Placement grade – You’ll get a grade for each occupational specialism that you learn on the course, so future employers can clearly see your experience. This will also be a pass, merit or distinction rating.
Oh, and there’s another awesome bonus – your T Level qualification will be worth the same number of UCAS points as three A Levels, so you can apply to uni when you’re done (if you want to, of course).
26 out of the top 50 universities in the UK accept T Levels so far, and many more are expected to follow in 2023. In fact there’s a handy chart that shows you exactly how many UCAS points you’ll earn.
How are T Levels different from an apprenticeship?
Both apprenticeships and T Levels involve an industry placement, but they’re not the same.
Apprenticeship = 80% on-the-job placement, 20% study.
T Levels = 80% study, 20% on-the-job placement.
Career progression with a T Level qualification
Because you’ll earn UCAS points with your T Level qualification, you’ll be in a strong position to apply for university. If you’d prefer to stay in a workplace environment, you can begin an apprenticeship after your T Level to further your knowledge in a specific area or to retrain in a different subject.
The T Level work placement will help you build relationships and experience within your industry of choice, you can jump straight into your dream career.
How to apply for a T Level
Download this list of all the current T Level providers, and keep an eye out for more courses that will be added in September 2023. So far, the government has announced T Level courses in a range of industries and subjects, including:
- Management and Administration
- Onsite Construction
- Digital Production, Design and Development
- Education and Childcare
- Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
You’ll need a Level 4 GCSE in English and maths to get accepted onto a T Level. If you’re not quite ready to begin a T Level after your GCSEs (for example, if you don’t get the required grades) don’t worry – you can complete the T Level Transition Programme. It’s a 1-year post-GCSE course that will help you further develop core skills in English, maths and IT.
We’ve found some great resources to help you do some further research on T Levels:
- T Levels vs other qualifications
- T Levels official website
- Hear from other students on this YouTube playlist
- Find a T Level provider near you
Choose T Levels to build a solid career foundation
Even though T Levels are a new qualification, they’re becoming widely recognised in the worlds of work and education. More T Level subjects will be added in 2023 and beyond, so don’t worry if none of the courses suit you right now – your ideal course could be right around the corner.
While you’re researching T Levels, don’t forget to take a look at apprenticeship opportunities too so you get a full scope of post-GCSE opportunities. Apprenticeships are available in every subject, from nursing to science and finance.