Revealed: the quarter-of-a-million pound brand to boost T-levels’ visibility

The government has unveiled its new branding for T-levels, in what has been described as the “first step” toward raising awareness ahead of their rollout in September 2020.

The ‘NexT Level’ brand logo (pictured), designed by marketing firm Havas Worldwide London Ltd, to the tune of £250,000, has been shared exclusively with FE Week as a sneak peek to a full branding toolkit, which will include leaflets and “social assets” and be released in “due course”.

An extra £3 million will now be handed to Havas for the implementation of a campaign in 2019/20 to help recruit the first wave of students for the new technical qualifications.

Raising awareness of T-levels among parents and employers is proving to be a huge challenge for the Department for Education. In September, a survey of over 1,000 parents of children aged 11 to 18 commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute found that two-thirds had never heard of the qualifications.

The department is also struggling to convince enough employers to offer the lengthy industry placement component of T-levels, which must last a minimum of 315 hours. Up to 100,000 industry placements will be taken each year when the full rollout commences.

“T-levels will be the biggest change to technical education in a generation,” said skills minister Anne Milton. “Right from the start we have worked with employers, young people, their parents and education providers. I want more and more people to understand that T-levels are a high-quality, advanced and desirable qualification, with employers at the heart of their design.

“I can’t wait for more people to learn about what T-levels have to offer and how they can open up a world of exciting options.”

The DfE said the branding has been designed in consultation with employer panel members, FE providers, young people and parents.

A procurement for a firm to lead on the work was put out by the department earlier this year and won by Havas in February. The contract is expected to run for 26 months.

Tender documents show that for the development of a “T-level brand and campaign strategy development and some initial implementation” the successful bidder would receive £250,000.

There has been a slight delay to the launch, as the documents also state that the DfE would “like the T-level brand to be ready in regional marketing activity by March-April”.

The budget for 2019-20, for T-level brand and campaign implementation, is “anticipated to be up to £3 million, subject to DfE financial approval and Cabinet Office professional assurance”, the tender documents added.

“The budget for 2020-21 is subject to allocation of resources at the next comprehensive spending review.”

The first three T-levels – in digital, construction, and education and childcare – will be taught from September 2020.

Qualifications in health, healthcare science, science, onsite construction, building services engineering, digital support and services, and digital business services will then be taught from 2021.

By 2022, the government will introduce the final wave of T-levels – 15 in total.