First T Levels relicensing tender launched

Awarding organisations sought to 'refresh and develop' those rolled out in waves 1 and 2

Awarding organisations sought to 'refresh and develop' those rolled out in waves 1 and 2

Awarding bodies are being invited to bid for contracts to “refresh and develop” seven existing T Levels.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education yesterday launched the competitive relicensing process, dubbed “Generation 2”, for most T Levels that were part of the wave one and two rollout.

However, three of those T Levels – offered by NCFE in health, healthcare science and science – have been left out. All of those qualifications suffered with well-publicised issues which led to results being regraded in their first year. Various changes have been made to the content of the T Levels over the past year to make them fit for purpose.

FE Week understands that a separate relicensing process for the health and science T Levels will be conducted at a later date.

Each T Level typically has a five-year license attached to them. The procurement launched this week will decide whether the awarding body currently assigned to each early T Level will continue with its development, or whether it will be switched to another.

NCFE delivers three of the seven T Levels part of this tender, while Pearson & City and Guilds are responsible for two each. The contracts are worth £28,093,974 in total.

T Level nameCurrent AOContract value
Education and Early YearsNCFE
Design, Surveying and Planning for ConstructionPearson£3,426,668
Building Services Engineering for ConstructionCity & Guilds£3,962,768
Onsite ConstructionCity & Guilds£3,902,468
Digital Business ServicesNCFE£2,786,268
Digital Support ServicesNCFE£3,789,868
Digital Production, Development and DesignPearson£4,699,868

A spokesperson for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education said the chosen Generation 2 suppliers will be “expected to refresh and develop the content and assessment methods”.

The bidding process, overseen by IfATE, will comprise of two stages. The first closes later this month and those that successfully pass will progress to stage two to complete their bid submission by early 2024.

Chris Morgan, IfATE’s deputy director for commercial, said: “This exciting opportunity will see the first two waves of T Levels, rolled out from 2020, going back to market for bidding in three key sectors. We welcome widespread interest and look forward to receiving submissions from awarding organisations.”

The IfATE spokesperson pressed that T Levels will “underpin” the technical options within the government’s long-term plans for the new Advanced British Standard (ABS), announced by the prime minister in October.

Plans for the ABS, which will effectively combine T Levels and A-levels into one standalone qualification, will be developed over the next decade.

T Levels will, in the meantime, “remain the gold standard employer-shaped technical qualification at level 3 for 16- to 19-year-olds”, the IfATE spokesperson claimed, adding that it is “vital that the Generation 2 qualifications are refreshed and developed to the highest standard”.

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