T Level Transition Support

The 2016 Sainsbury Review of Technical Education and the Government’s Post-16 Skills Plan set out an ambitious framework for changes to post-16 technical education to ensure young people have a high-quality technical alternative to A Levels. In response to this, T Levels will be introduced gradually from 2020 incorporating a minimum 45-day industry placement (formerly known as work placement).  The Challenge, having already run a year-long industry placements pilot, is now working to support colleges and businesses with the transition to T Levels. 

Around half of all young people in England study a technical course, however many of these young people finish that course without being fully ready for the world of work. We want to change that as we believe a world-class system of technical education is crucial to not only improve the skills of young people and our nation’s productivity but also increase social mobility.

T Levels, new technical courses equivalent to three A Levels coming in September 2020, will help to deliver high-quality technical education in England to ensure that young people have the skills they need to move into the fulfilling careers they want. By design T Levels directly address inequality of opportunities for young people from all segments of society to access on the job skills training, build connections within their chosen industry and put them in a good position for early talent recruitment opportunities and apprenticeships.

We are working with the Department of Education and the Association of Colleges to lead on the design and implementation of a transition programme for young people if they are not ready to start a T-level at age 16, but who can realistically achieve a T Level by age 19 they are not ready to start a T-level at age 16, but who can realistically achieve a T Level by age 19.

The transition year will be a flexible study programme which will support students who are not able to progress to Level 3 qualification to gain the skills, behaviours and experience they need to do so the following academic year. The contract will run until August 2021, with the opportunity for a further 12-month extension.

This project offers a great opportunity for us to build on our track record and experience in the technical education space, whilst putting us in a strong position to advocate for effective approaches to skills, character and employability development which are underpinned by our mission. By supporting young people into T Levels who would otherwise be unable to do so, the transition year also directly supports The Challenge’s mission: creating more mixed technical education cohorts and enabling more people from different backgrounds to realise their potential.


Contact The Challenge

For all enquiries on the work The Challenge is doing on the T Levels transition support programme,  please contact .

Further Education Providers

For all enquiries regarding industry placements, please contact the Education & Skills Funding Agency by visiting the industry placements page on the government website.


DfE has contracted the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) to provide support for employers. Please contact NAS.

DfE Guidance

CDF Guidance 2019/2020

Industry Placements Policy Update May 2019

Industry Placements

The Challenge was commissioned in 2018 by the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver a year-long programme in partnership with the Association of Colleges (AoC) to embed good practice and give direct intensive support to post-16 education providers arranging high-quality industry placements. There are four key elements of this work:

  • Providing tailored 1:1 advice and guidance to 90 post-16 education providers nationally
  • The delivery of 22 workshops reaching 499 delegates from 239 education providers who attended workshops written by the team designed to promote good practice and capture learning and good practice.
  • The production of 22 digital and written case studies available here. (Link will soon be available) The digital case studies explore the 11 T Level routes and contain key messages from the student, employer and providers of the benefits and impact of industry placements.
  • The development of 22 guidance resources focusing on how to effectively implement industry placements.