T-Levels- the new technical post-16 option

25th November 2021 by CareerWave

By now you will probably have heard mention of T-Levels, but what are they and how are they different?

What are they?

T-Levels are new level 3 technical qualifications related to specific industry sectors, taught over 2 years and equivalent to 3 A Levels.

They offer students a mix of academic and technical learning (including a minimum of 45 days work experience). They provide the knowledge and skills to progress into related work or related Higher Education courses. They are an approved, industry-focused alternative to A-level study.

How are T-Levels different to other Level 3 technical courses (BTEC Level 3, Cambridge National Level 3, CACHE Level 3)?

There is a compulsory requirement of a minimum of 45 days of work experience.

They are more academic and as a result there are more exams, compared other Level 3 courses (which are assessed mainly by coursework).

They are industry approved and meet the same standards as apprenticeships.

Why have T-Levels been introduced?

It is hoped that T-Levels will be seen as the equal of A-level study. For many years, A-level study has been seen by some people as ‘the gold standard’ option whilst technical courses were seen by some people as a second class qualification (this is definitely not the view of CareerWave). Therefore, increasing the academic content and strengthening links with industry is seen as the way to bring technical learning up to the same ‘gold standard’ as A-levels.

Will T-Levels replace all of the other, existing Level 3 technical courses?

This is a bit of an unknown. The current feeling is no, T-levels won’t replace all existing Level 3s (including BTECs, Cambridge Nationals, CACHE and others).

It is very possible that T-Levels and other Level 3s will exist side by side providing learners with more choice. The older Level 3s might continue to be very popular with learners who prefer the coursework approach to learning and do not think the more academic T-levels suit them.

We will have to wait and see what happens when all the new T-levels are introduced by 2023.

Will I still be able to get to University if I take a Level 3 BTEC, Cambridge National or CACHE?

Yes! These qualifications are already accepted by the vast majority of Universities. Whilst they are available to study, students will continue to get into Uni with the older Level 3 courses including BTECs, Cambridge Nationals, CACHEs.

What can I do a T-Level in?

T-Levels you can do now (availability depends on where you live):

Building Services Engineering for Construction

Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction

Digital Business Services

Digital Production, Design and Development

Digital Support Services

Education and Childcare


Healthcare Science

Onsite Construction


T-Levels coming September 2022:


Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing

Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control


Maintenance. Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing

Management and Administration

T-Levels coming September 2023

Agriculture, Land Management and Production

Animal Care and Management


Craft and Design

Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics

Media, Broadcast and Production

Legal Services

Where can I find out more about each subject?

The government has created a T-Levels website that tells you about the qualification, more information about each subject and where you can currently study a T-Level.

Search by postcode for currently available T-Levels and those available from September 2022.