Are you ready for T Levels? How the new technical qualifications can work for you

Businesses recruit and develop the talent they need for sustained growth when they engage with education

Industry placements can help to drive your business forward. Award-winning education provider Activate Learning works with a wide range of industry partners, from start-ups to multinationals, to co-create curricula and develop essential employability skills. Last year we facilitated over 300,000 hours of work experience and have been selected by the Department for Education to be a T Level provider from September 2021.

T Levels are a new, technical skills-based alternative to A-levels that are being phased in from 2020. To gain the qualification, 16-19 year olds will undertake a collaborative, 315-hour work placement in addition to studying an industry-specific programme at college.

Bernard Grenville-Jones, Activate Learning Group Executive Director, explains: “The new qualifications come at a time when continuing falls in unemployment, Brexit uncertainty and potential limitations on migrant workers, could impact negatively on already widening skills gaps.

“And advances in technology will mean that some jobs will disappear completely, replaced by completely new and different skill sets.

“Activate Learning works with business to develop the attributes that young people need to succeed in the workplace now and in the future. In partnership with industry, we are creating a talent pipeline to support economic growth.”

Volume, a Berkshire-based global AI company that was listed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies for 2018, has been working with Activate Learning for almost 2 years.

Chief Operating Officer, Gemma Hood, who spoke at our T Levels information event, says:

“This partnership is really important to Volume as it is helping us to close the skills gap.

“It enables us to provide insight for the students as to how we work as a business, it gives us the opportunity to assess those students from a cultural fit perspective, and it builds up our positive employer brand so that we are giving back to the local community.

“Roles and responsibilities are much clearer early on, supporting our overall employee retention.
“We’re so ahead of the curve in some of the applications that we’re developing that we’re struggling to find the skills to deliver them.

“Working with Activate Learning and the T Level is providing us with a pipeline of skills that are aligned to what we’re going to need in the future.”

Activate Learning believes that every learner who wants to work can. Our bespoke approach to carving out the best opportunities for students while meeting exacting industry requirements was recently recognised on a national level with an Association of Colleges Beacon Award.

And we were also presented with the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Education and Business Partnership Award in June 2019.

Having an established work placement programme already in place, where support with planning, delivery and evaluation is tailored to each employer and learner, means that Activate Learning is already in pole position for T Level delivery.

And the benefits for our business partners include extra resources for projects, the chance for employees to upskill and gain job satisfaction through mentoring young people, and the opportunity for companies to recruit the best new young talent before their competitors.

If you would like to know more about partnering with Activate Learning on current work placement opportunities in industry sectors including engineering, catering, IT and construction, or if you are interested in our new T Level programmes in Digital Production, Design and Development and Health and Science, please contact us at

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