In 2015 the government criticised colleges for losing out to training providers by only making up a third of the apprenticeship market.

And the figure is even lower for traineeships, at just 24 per cent and falling, as FE Week discovered with a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Education.

What connects these two programmes is the need for employer buy-in, and the fact they mostly happen in the workplace, a delivery model that many colleges with classrooms to fill seem to have little appetite for or ability to expand.

Colleges should focus on and grow what they are good at, so it would wrong to simply criticise them for disengagement.

But this should still concern the DfE, which is relying on colleges to deliver T-levels – which also include mandatory work placements of up to three months.

The T-level workplace capacity building funds and lessons learnt from pilots will help colleges, but in truth the independent sector holds most of the employer engagement cards.

So these latest figures would suggest the DfE should be developing a collaborative delivery model to make a success of T-levels.

The hard truth is that colleges too often have the only access to classrooms and workshops, so independent training providers focus their energies on access to the employers.

T-level students will need both, so a policy of collaboration between colleges and independent training providers is to be encouraged.

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