Minister claims 90% of first-wave T Level students secured work placements

Unpublished internal data at the Department for Education was referenced at education questions.

Unpublished internal data at the Department for Education was referenced at education questions.

More than 90 per cent of the first T Level learners completed their work placements, according to unpublished internal data held by former skills minister Alex Burghart. 

Responding to shadow skills minister Toby Perkins during Monday’s education questions in the House of Commons, Burghart – who quit his ministerial role on Thursday as part of an exodus of junior ministers – said that “we managed to get almost all – well over 90 per cent of students – their work placements.” 

The Department for Education confirmed that there is not currently any published data on T Level work placements, but claimed the ex-minister was referring to internally held data. 

But the DfE refused to divulge any further detail about the alleged data, such as whether it is based on all 1,300 students who started the first T Levels in 2020 or only a portion of the overall cohort or only those who did not drop out. 

Ministers and sector leaders have been worried about convincing enough businesses to host students for the 315-hour, or 45-day, mandatory placements, a concern exacerbated by Covid-19. 

In response to the pandemic, the DfE announced in November that students who started a T Level in 2020 and 2021 can complete a chunk of their industry placement remotely. 

Burghart told the House of Commons on Monday: “T Levels are going extremely well, we have very good uptake. 

“In terms of T Level work placements, the first year of T Levels was perhaps conducted in the harshest circumstances imaginable during Covid. But thanks to the hard work of my officials and the hard work of principals, we managed to get almost all – well over 90 per cent of students – their work placements.  

“If we can do it in the conditions of Covid, we can do it elsewhere.” 

The first three T Levels were launched in September 2020 in digital production, design and development; design, surveying and planning for construction; and education and childcare. Results for the first learners on those courses is due this August. 

Wave two courses began in September 2021, and included building services engineering for construction; digital business services; digital support and services; health; healthcare science; onsite construction; and science. 

T Levels starting this September include accounting; design and development for engineering and manufacturing; engineering, manufacturing, processing and control; finance; maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing; and management and administration. 

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