T Levels represent hope for the industry’s future

In the world of education, changes to qualifications are often met with either indifference or a great deal of scepticism. However, this has not been the case with the announcement that in 2020, 52 colleges in England are to allow students to study alternative qualifications focused on technical subjects, known as T Levels.

Finding the right balance

Often criticisms levelled at the government when changes are made to the educational system revolve around it being surface level and not actually amounting to anything substantial. T Levels however, represent a genuine monumental change, and one that many in relevant industries, such as Actuated Valve Supplies, are in support of.

It’s easy to see why: for a very long time, a lack of practical skills being taught in schools has plagued several sectors of the economy. While few wanted to go back to the binary divide, plenty have agreed that the balance between more academic education and the teaching of technical skills hasn’t been up to standard for a very long time. This change appears to be a positive compromise in readdressing that balance without reverting back to the rather cut-throat culture of Britain’s educational system throughout much of the 20th-century.

It is, of course, very early days right now. Only time will tell whether this becomes the success that many hope it will be. However, if you were to ask many within the relevant industries, their opinion of the current system is often so low, that T Levels represent hope for the industry’s future.

Closing the skill gap

The issue here is largely that many employers don’t value the qualifications currently on offer, believing that they don’t provide the skill base required to start a trade. Ask more experienced tradesman about how young people fare and you’ll likely be told that what they’ve been taught in colleges leaves them dumbfounded when confronted with the task at hand. Most practical jobs, after all, can’t be learnt from a textbook.

While A Levels have been successful in providing a fine academic education, the technical side of college education is poorly regarded by many employers, leaving some openly cautious about taking on younger workers. In fact, a Youthnet survey found that half of UK employers asked felt that young applicants don’t understand the required job skills.

Ultimately, the T Levels are an acknowledgment of these failings. It’s hoped that this recognition of the problem – a focus an academic rather than technical skills leading to a lack of proficient technical workers – will mean that the T Levels will take a more practical and successful path.

The roll out

The T Levels will be available in schools, community colleges, training centres and educational colleges, with the West Midlands receiving the highest number of locations. Other notable locations set to benefit from this change includes schools in Yorkshire and the Humber, several across London and some in the East Midland and the East of England. Where it will go in the future is anyone’s guess.

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