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T Levels: Technical Education

Get ready to take the next step on your educational journey after your GCSEs, and the challenge of a new and exciting type of qualification.

What are T Levels?

Technical levels (T Levels) are a new qualification that will be equal to three A Levels. 

Available to school leavers after they have completed their GCSEs, T Levels offer an alternative to A Levels or an apprenticeship.

The difference between a T and an A level is that with a T Level, 80% of the course is in the classroom, learning the skills that employers need. The other 20% is a meaningful industry placement, where you’ll put these skills into practice.

T Levels have been designed in collaboration with employers and businesses, so that you will learn everything you need to prepare for the workplace. They offer you more practical work experience and industry placement hours as part of your education than any other qualification currently available, except for apprenticeships.

In fact, as part of your T Level education, you will do more than 300 hours of industry placements over the course of your two-year programme.

And because they are the equivalent of three A Levels, T Levels also give you the option to move onto university or a higher apprenticeship once you’ve completed the programme.

The entry requirements for T Levels have not yet been confirmed, but as they are equivalent to A Levels, it is likely that good GCSE results will be necessary.

T Level transition programmes from September 2020

If you would like to start a T Level in 2021, these transition programmes will ensure you are prepared for—and have a clear understanding of—the work involved and guarantee you an interview for your chosen T Level at the end of the year.

Health and Medical T Level Transition Programme

Digital Level 2 T Level Transition Programme


What T Levels are available and when do they start?

T Levels go live at Activate Learning from September 2021, and we will be offering them in the following areas:

  • Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Healthcare Science

More T Level subjects will be offered from September 2022 onwards.

Digital Production, Design and Development

This course focuses on the digital industry and aims to give you the essential knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to any digital occupation.

 Learn the essentials behind all digital roles by understanding data and digital systems, how software and business interact, security, testing, planning and legal issues. You then build on this by developing specialist skills in understanding user needs and designing and developing digital systems.  

This type of qualification is ideal for people who want to work in the following areas:

  • digital development
  • security 
  • project planning and management
  • computing systems management
  • software development
Healthcare Science

This course starts with the essential knowledge and skills to work in healthcare or science including how the industry works, core scientific concepts and key regulations including managing information, health and safety and good scientific/clinical practice.

You will then have the chance to specialise in at least one of the following areas:

  • assisting with healthcare science
  • dental services (making dental devices)
  • optical care services
  • pharmacy services
  • prosthetic and orthotic technical services

Each T Level includes the following compulsory elements:

  • a technical qualification, which will include:
    • core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area
    • specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career
  • an industry placement with an employer
  • a minimum standard in English and maths, if students have not already achieved them

You can learn more about T Levels on our government's website.

How are T Levels graded?

Once you complete your T Level, there are several options that are available to you. These include moving into full-time employment, an apprenticeship or higher education.

To help T Level students get into higher education, UCAS tariff points have been allocated to T Levels, which means they will be equivalent to three A Levels.

UCAS points will only be allocated to the overall T Level grade, so you must achieve at least an overall pass grade to receive UCAS points.

Find out more about how T Levels are graded on the government website.

Tell me more about the industry placements

T Levels offer you a mix of classroom learning and on-the-job experience via industry placement of at least 315 hours over the two-year programme.

You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on placement with an employer to give you the knowledge and skills companies look for.

Hear about our students’ experiences of industry placements at Activate Learning:

Find out more

Whether you are a prospective student, parent or employer partner, there are additional resources available to find out more about T Levels.

I’m a prospective student

If you are interested in finding out more about being a T Levels student, you can:


I’m a parent of a prospective student

If your child is currently in Year 10, and thinking about post-GCSE options from September 2021, you can find out more information to help make the right decision for your child’s future:


I’m a potential employer partner

We work with more than 2,000 employers and businesses across our college group and we are always looking for new industry partners to help us co-create placements and input into our curriculum. 

By partnering with Activate Learning you will have direct input into ensuring that the talent you need for your business to thrive and succeed is being developed at your local college.

Watch our video to find out how industry placements for T Levels work, what the benefits are to your organisation, and how employers can get involved. 

Get ahead of the game and start working with the best young talent now. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll find the right fit for you.

What other post-GCSE qualification options are there?

T Levels are another option for students to choose from after completing their GCSEs, alongside:

  • apprenticeships: for students who wish to learn a specific occupation ‘on the job’
  • vocational study programmes: for students who prefer a more supported college programme without an industry placement
  • A Levels: for students who wish to continue academic education