Potential new T Levels in energy and sustainability are being explored by education chiefs as part of efforts to boost green skills.
A climate change and environmental skills action plan was published by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) today which sets out its ambitions to bolster green skills in post-16 education.
Among its commitments for 2023/24 is to assess T Level provision, with its report confirming that it is currently researching potential new T Levels with employers to “understand their needs and support pathways into energy and sustainability careers”.
FE Week has asked for more details from IfATE on when this research is set to end and when it may plan any potential new T Levels planned.
In addition, it has also not ruled out more occupational specialisms in existing T Levels to “future proof” the bellwether new qualifications, designed to be technical equivalents of A-levels.
The report said: “For existing T Levels, we will increase the climate change and environmental content in line with changes to the occupational standards on which they are based, expanding the content to cover some aspects of energy and sustainability.
“For those T Levels in the engineering and manufacturing, and construction and built environment routes there may be a need to create additional knowledge content or add further occupational specialisms to accomplish this.”
The action plan said that any changes would expect to be made as part of the annual review process for T Levels.
Elsewhere, the organisation has identified 228 priority apprenticeship standards to be reviewed across 11 themes including engineering, logistics, forestry, energy and electric vehicles, which could result in brand new apprenticeships being introduced or existing standards being revised.
So far, IfATE has reported that 100 of those already have the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for climate change and the environment, with a commitment to have half of the 228 “greened” by June.
It pledged to complete that list by March 2024.
Among standards already looked at include the building services engineering senior technician to include green considerations in planning and resourcing, and adding more sectors to the sustainability business specialist occupational standard.
It has also approved new apprenticeships in domestic electrician (to include electric vehicle charging points, solar panels and heat pumps) and forest craftsperson to feature commitments to increasing tree canopy and woodland cover.
Over the next year, the institute plans revisions to installation and maintenance electrician apprenticeships to add skills around EV charging points, a new apprenticeship expected to launch in the summer around battery manufacture and a low carbon heating technician standard.
IfATE said it plans to publish a future innovation strategy this spring which will outline how future skills will be met.
Judy Ling Wong, chair of IfATE’s green apprenticeship and technical education advisory panel, said it wanted to ensure employers could secure the skills they needed to meet the country’s net zero carbon emissions goals.
She added: “Surveys have shown over 60 per cent of young people want to work in a role committed to tackling climate change and we will make it easier for employers and individuals to find the right apprenticeship or technical qualification for them.”
IfATE announced it was forming a green apprenticeships advisory panel back in December 2020 to advise on how apprenticeships could consider the environment more and fill gaps in provision.
Last summer, it continued that it was working with the Department for Education’s Unit for Future Skills to identify emerging skills needs, and said it planned to publish a refreshed green strategy at the end of last year.