The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) has seemingly backtracked on an agreement by its board to lobby for T Level placement targets in the public sector.
Minutes from the institute’s recently published July 2023 board meeting said the board had “agreed to write to the Cabinet Office to lobby for setting targets for public sector contracts to include apprenticeships and T Level industry placement opportunities”.
However, after FE Week asked what progress had been made with this effort, an IfATE spokesperson said officials later agreed with the board not to send the letter – and refused to confirm that it was still pushing for the targets.
The July meeting took place days after an FE Week investigation found the majority of government departments and education agencies had not provided any T Level industry placements.
Data obtained through Freedom of Information requests found that while the Department for Education had provided six placements, it was an outlier in Whitehall.
The Treasury, Foreign Office, Department for Levelling Up and Communities, and Department for Culture, Media and Sport were all yet to offer a single T Level industry placement. The same was true for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Justice.
IfATE itself had provided four industry placements for T Levels students, but none of the other DfE-linked agencies, like the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Ofsted and the Office for Students, provided any.
Skills minister Robert Halfon joined IfATE’s July board meeting to discuss government initiatives like the lifelong learning entitlement.
The minister “noted” a “feeling government departments could do more to provide industry placements for T Level students,” according to the minutes.
While the board agreed to “lobby for setting targets”, an IfATE spokesperson said it was instead “having regular conversations with both central government and employers to promote the use of apprenticeships and T Level placements”.