T Levels: A Post-16 Alternative to A Levels

If you're looking for a new choice of post-16 education after GCSEs, T Levels are a two-year qualification that can offer a direct pathway to skilled employment.
T Levels: A Post-16 Alternative to A Levels
By Carli Allan
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If you’ve finished your GCSEs and want to gain practical skills and work experience while you continue your studies, T Levels could be the right choice.

Introduced by the UK government in 2020, T Levels are a vocational alternative to A Levels. Offering a mixture of classroom learning and practical work experience, T Levels are available in a range of subject areas, including Digital, Education, Construction, Health, Science, and Engineering.

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon said:

“T Levels provide a unique ladder of opportunity for young people to gain the knowledge and on-the-job experience needed to progress into work, an apprenticeship or higher education. All the courses have been co-designed with employers to ensure that students get the skills they need to succeed.

“From this September there will be even more high-quality T Levels available, including agriculture and legal services, with more providers coming onboard helping thousands of young people to progress into rewarding careers.”

Interested in the benefits of T Levels? Find out everything you need to know about T Levels here.

What are T Levels?

T Levels are two-year courses aimed at 16 to 19-year-olds that focus on practical and vocational subjects rather than academic ones. Currently only offered in England, T Levels can be studied after students completed their GCSEs.

Students spend 80% of their time in the classroom and 20% on a minimum nine-week placement with an employer.

The courses will be composed of compulsory elements:

  • a technical qualification, which will include core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area,
  • specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career,
  • an industry placement with an employer,
  • a minimum standard in maths and English if students have not already achieved them.

Like A levels, there are no tuition fees to study a T Level if you start before you are 19.

What grades do I need to take a T Level?

Schools and colleges in the UK set their own entry requirements, so visit their individual websites to find out what GCSE grades you need.

What subjects can I study at T Level?

Since T Levels were first launched in 2020, there has been a steady increase in the subject offering. 

These include:

  • Design, surveying and planning (construction)
  • Digital production, design and development
  • Education
  • Building services engineering
  • Digital business services
  • Digital support and services
  • Health
  • Healthcare science
  • Onsite construction
  • Science
  • Accountancy
  • Design and development
  • Financial
  • Human resources
  • Legal
  • Maintenance, installation and repair
  • Management and administration
  • Engineering, manufacturing, processing and control

From September 2024 onwards:

  • Animal care and management
  • Catering
  • Craft and design
  • Hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy
  • Media, broadcast and production

Where will a T Level take me?

T Levels are designed to prepare students for entry into skilled employment, an apprenticeship, or related technical study at university or other higher education. They are different to an apprenticeship, which is more suited to students who are ready to enter the workforce at 16 years old.

A T Level is worth the same UCAS points as three A Levels, and can be used to apply to university or another higher education institution. Not all universities will consider T Levels for entry onto one of their courses, but the many that do include University of Manchester, University of Liverpool, Bath Spa University, Loughborough University, Royal Academy of Music and University of Exeter.

In 2022, 71% of T Level students who applied to university secured a place, while other T Level graduates moved into employment and higher apprenticeships.

How are T Levels graded?

T Level students are awarded distinction*, distinction, merit, pass (C or above), and pass (D or E) grades.

In 2022, over 92% of T Level students achieved a ‘Pass’ or above.

Where can I take T Levels?

T Levels are offered at selected state sixth form colleges and schools in England. To find your nearest T Level course, enter your postcode here. 


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