Calling on the Construction Industry to Help Make T-levels a Success
Last week we brought you news of the T-level qualifications which were announced during last month’s Budget. T-levels, as we explained are the new technical qualifications that were developed in order to simplify the process of vocational training in the UK and the Chancellor announced an extra £30 million of investments so that colleges can be prepared for their introduction. Getting the T-levels off to a good start is going to present colleges in the UK with a huge challenge, especially when it comes to delivering the necessary training and education.
Education Secretary, Justine Greening, has called for more industry experts to become college teachers in order to deliver T-level education and wants to promote an alliance between business and education to form a “deep, strategic, mutually beneficial partnership”. The supposition is that industry experts will provide a more credible voice for youngsters attending college, being taught by a person who is part of the industry that they are teaching about.
Ms. Greening was speaking at the first ever Department for Education (DfE) Skills Summit, which launched the new partnership between employers and the government with the aim of delivering a “skills revolution”. This is something that the UK is sorely in need of as we face a burgeoning skills shortage which is likely to get worse in the wake of Brexit as we face a future with fewer overseas workers available to add their weight to construction sites across the UK.
Ms. Greening stated that if we want to successfully deliver the necessary skills to young people, then a major culture change in businesses will be necessary – not business as usual. Employers are being tasked with providing high-quality apprenticeships and work placements to youngsters who are crying out for opportunities. She reiterates that “only business and employers can really deliver that for young people”.
At present, there are not enough businesses offering these work placements and apprenticeships and the plan is for three month work placements to be included in the T-level education as a vital component of the programme. If this is going to work, the government will need more employers and businesses to take part as the success of the plan as a whole is heavily dependent upon them.
Eliminating the skills gap in the UK will have a radical, transformative effect on people’s lives and on the wider UK economy which is in pretty dire straits right now. A massive 20% of the UK’s productivity gap with Germany and France is the result of lower skill levels and if the UK wants to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Brexit, this is an issue that will need to be solved.
The most pressing priorities include adapting the apprenticeship system and making sure that T-levels are a success. Only a significant investment of money, time, knowledge and teaching will enable the UK to face the post-Brexit years with any hope of success.