The new beauty T Level: everything you need to know
T Levels were launched in September 2020 as a work-focused alternative to A Levels for people aged 16–18. The two-year courses were designed with employers to reflect the current and future skills needs of the sectors and occupations they serve.
The one relevant to the beauty industry, which is due to launch September 2023, was originally called T Level Technical Qualification in Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics, but has been renamed T Level Technical Qualification in Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy to better reflect the three occupational specialisms the course will cover.
The contract for this T Level was awarded to NCFE, which will work alongside its specialist partner VTCT, by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in October 2021.
The name change came about after amendments were made to the course content, which resulted in a move away from aesthetics, and adding the inclusion of barbering. Feedback received from employers, providers and professional body members was used to ensure the new pathway title is reflective of the updated content.
“We are thrilled that the title has been amended to more accurately reflect the current occupational specialisms of the T Level Technical Qualification," says Alan Woods OBE, chief executive of VTCT, the organisation heading up the beauty industry T Level. "After several panel discussions with individuals from industry, training providers and professional bodies, it became apparent that everyone wanted this change."
What are T Levels?
T Levels are work-focused alternatives to A Levels for students aged 16–18.
These new flagship Level 3 technical programmes last two years and equip students with the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to progress into skilled employment. One of the four key components that make up a T Level is the industry placement.
T Level industry placements
T Levels are 80% classroom based and 20% on-the-job experience. The industry placement portion allows students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a real-world, business setting. These placements offer all students access to a meaningful experience and practical skills that can’t be gained in the classroom.
The duration of the work placement is a minimum of 315 hours (with no upper limit of time). This will be during normal industry working hours, even if it is outside the academic timetable, further promoting the real-life work environment for students.
Employers throughout the country are encouraged to get involved with T Levels.
Lorraine Nordmann, beauty president of the Association of Hairdressers and Therapists (AHT) explains: “T Levels, developed in collaboration with industry, support aspiration and focus on preparing students for work while developing the technical skills and knowledge sought by industry. A robust work experience is central to the qualification.”
Benefits of T Level industry placements
For employers, the industry placement is a way to address the entry-level skills shortage. The placements are also designed to help to improve innovation and increase an organisation’s productivity, with the idea being that students bring a fresh pair of eyes and new ideas.
How can you get involved with T Levels?
Even though industry placements won’t start for a couple of years for the hair and beauty sectors, you can still get involved now.
VTCT is looking for experienced professionals to contribute their knowledge (for example, through reviewing content) as part of its T Level development panels.
Interested employers can register their interest in getting involved at vtct.org.uk/tlevels.
Joan Scott, chief executive and chair of Habia, has been involved with the T Level development panels and says: “Our team at Habia are delighted to be providing expertise to support the development of the T Level. We want to champion the next generation of professionals in our industries.
“It’s so important to nurture and develop skills and talent, as well as provide a quality progression route into the sector. These qualifications – with our help and support– will do just that. We invite others to share their expertise in support of the T Level development.”