Budget: T-levels to revolutionise construction training

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed the launch of new T-Level qualifications during his Budget speech on Tuesday.

The new system is designed to put technical construction qualifications on a par with A-Levels.

The £500m-a-year investment in T-Levels will benefit 16-19 year-olds in 15 different sectors with construction prominent among them.

The new qualifications will replace the current confusing plethora of more than 13,000 technical qualifications.

All youngsters on the new courses will also be offered at least a three-month work placement and student grant style loans if they decide to continue into higher-level technical education.

Hammond said: “We languish near the bottom of international league tables for technical education and there is still a lingering doubt about the parity of technical qualifications – today we end that with T levels.”

Experts wasted no time in warning the Government that it will need a massive increase in capital spending to provide classrooms for new technical students.

Marcus Fagent, Head of Education at Arcadis, said: “This will require significant capital investment on top of the additional £500m revenue investment.

“Having had access to very limited capital funding over the last four years, FE Colleges have been through a phase of rationalising their estates, amalgamating and reducing any unused space to maximise their operational efficiency. They now have limited spare space in which to expand.

“Schools have received no funding for space other than that needed to deliver the academic curriculum in recent years, as capital spending has been driven down by efficient space models and standardised design and specification.

“The Government FE College Investment Strategy estimates that £1m of capital investment could create facilities for 75 new learners.

“On this basis, it would cost an additional £4bn to increase the number of Post 16 students on technical courses by 50%.

“Creative minds will find solutions that reduce these costs but we estimate that the Government may need to inject £500m of capital investment every year to match the planned revenue investment to make T-Levels deliverable.”

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