T Level awareness low amongst young people and employers

Awareness of T Levels – introduced as the technical alternative to A levels – is low among young people and employers, a report from EngineeringUK has found.


T Levels can provide a route into engineering careers but the report – titled ‘Anyone for T? Awareness of T Levels in England’ – reveals that just 37 per cent of 11- to 18-year-olds surveyed had heard of them.

Just over a third (35 per cent) of 14- to 16-year-olds and 16-to-18 year olds respectively said they knew what T Levels are compared to 30 per cent of those aged 11-to-14.

Awareness levels among parents was found to be lower, with 27 per cent being aware of T Levels and 18 per cent saying they know a lot/a fair amount about them.  

In a statement, Meryl Cotton, T Level manager at Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, said: “T Levels offer a great new option for students who enjoy classroom learning but also want to gain vital industry experience. Our students out on industry placement this week are with small and large local employers who are investing in the future talent their sector needs.”

There are higher levels of awareness among employers where 72 per cent said they knew of T levels, but less than a third (28 per cent) said they have heard of T Levels and understand what they involve. Make UK and EngineeringUK estimate that 43,500 placements will be needed by 2024/25 for students taking engineering and manufacturing T Level , but the report found 32 per cent of employers claiming a lack of knowledge as a barrier to offering placements.

Julie Twigg, learning and development manager at Portmeirion said: "At our Portmeirion site in Stoke, we embraced the opportunity to offer T Level placements and subsequently have two engineering students on their first placement this week. With an aging workforce, we are wanting to support our next generation and help bring in young talent within the ceramic industry, showcasing the engineering careers we have within the group and the engineering T Levels are helping boost the skills we need."

“T Levels offer young people a fantastic route into highly rewarding engineering, technology and technician careers, and they also hold huge potential to help with tackling the skilled engineering workforce shortage,” added Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK. “However, it’s clear that a great deal more needs to be done to enhance awareness and understanding – which is why we’re shining a spotlight on T levels during Tomorrow's Engineers Week.”

What are the biggest barriers to taking on a T Level placement student? Let us know by taking part in our Poll and by leaving a comment below.