T Levels webinar

10 / 02 / 2020

Watch our T Levels webinar, originally held on 6 February and learn more information about what T Levels are, what industry placements are and how getting involved and hosting industry placements can benefit your organisations.

Our speakers included Harriet Dobson, Greater Manchester industry placement project manager at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust who spoke about the trust's experience of piloting industry placements and Tim Chewter from the Strategic Development Network (SDN) who explained how the SDN can support employers who want to get involved with T Levels and hosting industry placements.

A number of resources are referred to on the webinar including:

If you would like to catch up on the full webinar, including questions and answers from the day, watch the video below. You can also download the slides (PDF, 1.08mb).

Answers to questions asked during the webinar

What role do you see the ICS/STP having in supporting this? Can there be a collaborative approach to offering industry placements, for example a GP collaborative offer an industry placement that would occur across a number of employers/bases?

We are aware of ICS and STP areas planning on working together to co-ordinate an approach to T Levels for example Greater Manchester’s health and social care sector, similar to working together on clinical placements and apprenticeships. NHS Employers will continue to share good practice across the NHS for both individual trusts and system working when it becomes available.

Employers should note that a T Level student can only do their industry placements with a maximum of two employers.  This is to ensure that the student feels that they belong to the organisation(s) and that a quality placement(s) is delivered within the maximum 45 days.

What do you see HEE's role in supporting this?

Local HEE regional relationship managers are already taking forward discussions on T Levels at a local level with NHS organisations as part of their normal engagement with employers.

A member of the apprenticeship team at HEE has also been integral in the development of the health T Level and continues to advocate T Levels broadly and the Health and Science T Level pathways.

Is there an NHS Employers target for how many T level graduates go into NHS jobs or on to higher education healthcare-related degrees? What do you expect to see as progression routes for T Level students?

NHS Employers' role is only to provide and share information on T Levels. However, we do believe that T Levels will be a welcome additional talent pipeline into the NHS. It is an NHS trust’s individual decision whether they support industry placements or not. We have also spoken to the Department for Education and as of February 2020, there are no targets on T Levels being set by the Government. We will update our webpages if this changes at any time in the future.

Are the Trade Unions in the NHS aware of T levels and industrial placements for 16-19-year olds?

We are aware that national trade union representatives are in discussions with Health Education England and NHS Employers in relation to apprenticeships, traineeships and T Levels.  We also had Trade Union representatives sign up for the Webinar on Thursday 6 February 2020.

Can T Level students have industry placements in charity healthcare providers?

Yes, they can but it should be noted that a T Level student can only do their industry placements with a maximum of two employers.

Is there a list available of providers who will be offering T Levels for health?

There are lists on the Gov.uk website for providers who are offering T Levels from 2020-21 and 2021-22, the latter includes a list of providers for health. 
There is also a list of transition programme providers.

What are the risks if NHS Trusts don’t buy into support industry placements? There is placement burnout within trusts with other programmes such as: work experience, students, apprentices, employability programmes etc.

Offering T Level industry placements is a local level decision. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out ambitions to increase the number of people in learning placements across the NHS. To meet these ambitions, employers will have to scale up the ability to offer a safe and high-quality learning environment that supports workforce development. It is up to employers locally as to whether T Levels feature in this scale up.

Who will be responsible for assessing the skills, competence and knowledge of students to determine whether they are ready for work at the end of their course?

The education provider and employer should work together to ensure that learners are achieving the criteria of the T Level, but ultimately, it is the education provider who will assess the student’s level of knowledge at the end of the programme. Students must complete an assessment for each section of their programme such as classroom-based learning, industry placement and English, maths and digital skills if necessary. Employers can support students to complete their industry placement project by offering the student a project to achieve by the time they finish their industry placement, of which they can report on as their evidence for their industry placement learning.

The aim of a T Level programme is to expose young people to the place of work in an industry they have an interest in beginning a career in, however they will not be entirely competent to a specific role, due to the broad knowledge they will gain while completing their T Level. Therefore, students entering work after completing their T Level, will be eligible to go into a position with further training to become competent in their role, for example through an apprenticeship such as healthcare support worker.

How will consistency be ensured across organisations, for example the disparity around age restrictions in departments such as theatres, which may be possible in one organisation but not in another?

The Department for Education continues to evaluate T Level pilots to ensure consistent quality T Level courses and industry placements. However, they do recognise that one size does not fit all and some decisions need to be made at a local business level.

With regards to age, T Level learners may be under 18. Under 18s can work in clinical and non-clinical settings, however employers must provide a safe working environment with safe working hours. Most placements will take place during regular daytime working hours, but in some placements this may involve working outside normal hours and should be evaluated to determine the necessity of working outside of these hours. Working patterns should be agreed with the training provider as part of the work plan discussion. Read more on the legal requirements as an employer on the gov.uk website

Is there an expectation that most T Level graduates move into NHS jobs and develop through internal career development or go on to university on NHS related degrees?

This is up to each employer locally. There are lots of opportunities to build T Levels into workforce plans and career pathways in the same ways as other education routes.

The purpose of T Levels is to prepare students for entry into skilled employment, higher-level apprenticeships, or higher education. More information on the purpose of T Levels, and why they are work-specific, visit the our webpage about where do T Levels fit?

The occupational maps for T Level courses outline career pathways. There is a full range of T Level courses available which will support the NHS including: health, healthcare science, science, business services, childcare, digital, facilities management and HR. View the full list of T Levels and the occupations they can lead to.

Upon completion of a T Level, a young person could enter the NHS at entry-level in roles such as: administrator or healthcare support worker; or onto level 3 apprenticeships such as business administration.

Can T Level students have industry placements in private healthcare providers?

Yes. If private healthcare providers would like to provide industry placements they can. Employers should note that a T Level student can only do their industry placements with a maximum of two employers.  This is to ensure that the student feels that they belong to the organisation(s) and that a quality placement(s) is delivered within the maximum 45 days.

Are there resources and guidance available to support setting up T Level industry placements, to minimise administrative tasks?

NHS Employers has a range of available resources to support employers with embedding industry placements in their organisations. These include case studies from Frimley Health NHS Trust and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and downloadable resources created and used by different NHS trusts.

The Department for Education also continues to provide updates on the developments of T Levels on the gov.uk website
Employers interested in finding out more about industry placements can contact NHS Employers at workforcesupply@nhsemployers.org for further information. Alternatively the National Apprenticeship Service can also support with industry placements, contact them via email or phone on: tlevel.placement@education.gov.uk and 08000 150 600.

Is there any funding available to employers who will be hosting placement, to support costs incurred such as the on boarding costs, cost of support roles for the co-ordination of the placements?

Education providers are given access to a Capacity and Delivery Fund (CDF). Employers can ask education providers to draw down from the CDF to support with some elements of the industry placement.

The Department for Education is running pilots to enable them to better support all providers delivering T Levels and industry placements through identifying the impact of additional funding on employers’ willingness to offer placements, gathering evidence on employer costs associated with placements and informing thinking on how to best deploy future funding. A full evaluation is expected to be published in late 2020. Further information about the CDF can be found in this government report.

Are there currently any community-based NHS trusts who have been involved with the delivery of T Levels as yet?

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is a community and mental health care provider and is aiming to host industry placements starting in September 2020. 

Can trusts draw down funds from the apprenticeship levy to support with any costs associated with T Level industry placements?

Unfortunately, as the apprenticeship rules explicitly say the levy is ringfenced for funding apprenticeships, employers cannot use their levy contributions to support T Levels and industry placements. However employers can draw down from the Capacity and Delivery Fund (which is given to the education provider) to support with new equipment for students they’re hosting.

What is the age range of T Level students?

Students aged 16-19 are eligible to complete T Levels.

For any further information or questions on T Levels and industry placements, email workforcesupply@nhsemployers.org


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