The final big change to the way beauty is taught in the UK comes in the form of T-level qualifications for 16-19 year olds. These are new routes for technical education designed as an alternative to A-levels, the route most commonly chosen by those who want to stay in education and study academic subjects.
T-levels will be available in 15 sectors including hair and beauty. The new qualifications were announced in July 2016 but re-entered the news in March when the Chancellor announced an additional £500m investment in the routes in his Budget.
A major part of the plans is to make the work experience portion of the qualifications more industry-relevant, with three-month “quality” placements. While this focus is welcome news to employers, Larissey believes it’s vital the standards are the same as those that underpin the Trailblazer apprenticeships.
“They will have to align with the Trailblazers; employers are very keen on having a shared standard and assessment plans,” she says.
It is currently the plan to have employer-led panels develop new standards, which will closely align with Trailblazers. “In our view as employers, the best place for job-ready skills to be developed is in the workplace as an apprentice,” said Hammer. “However, not all people are ready for the workplace at the same time, so T-levels allow a step into the sector with work experience, though these must be aligned with the Trailblazer standard.” The first routes will be ready for teaching in 2019.