The new T-Level study programme, set to sit alongside apprenticeships and A-Levels, will be introduced in 2020 and requires students to obtain a minimum work experience placement of 45 days.
However, a study of more than 2,000 employers by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has found that just a quarter of respondents (26%) believe this will be feasible, while 60% have still not heard of the new qualifications.
Reforming Technical Education: employers’ views on T-Levels also found that more than a third of employers (35%) have not provided any form of work experience within the last 12 months: of those who do offer work experience, 62% only offer placements typically lasting less than 15 days and 24% offer placements of just five days.
Meanwhile, one in five respondents (22%) stated they would be able to offer the required work experience but would need a financial incentive, 10% said they could only offer two- or four-week placements, and a quarter (24%) said they would not be able to offer work experience at all.
Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser at the CIPD, comments: “These findings shine a light on the potentially fatal mismatch between the amount of work experience T-Level students will need to complete their qualification, and what UK employers currently feel able to offer.
“We, and many employers, welcome the reforms to the skills system, and the positive impact that T-Level students can bring to workforces around the country. However, for the majority of organisations, particularly SMEs, the requirement to provide 45 days of work experience per T-level student is unrealistic and could prove to be a significant problem.
“Government intervention is absolutely key to whether T-Levels are a success when they’re introduced in two years’ time. It needs to provide employers with more information and guidance about how to include T-Level students effectively in their workforce, and also seriously rethink the work experience requirement or jeopardise the success of these key reforms for improving technical education and skills in the UK.”