What are the Implications of Covid-19 for Student Recruitment to T Levels?

Suzanne Straw and Eleanor Bradley

23 July 2020

This paper presents the perspectives from a webinar facilitated in July 2020, supplemented by findings from pre-webinar questions. The webinar focused on the implications of Covid-19 for the recruitment of students onto T Levels. Key messages are detailed below.

  • Providers are generally optimistic about recruitment for September. However, around a half of the providers responding to the pre-webinar questions felt ready to deliver T Levels ‘to a moderate extent’ when considering current recruitment levels.
  • There was low awareness of the T Levels brand amongst students, parents/carers and employers prior to Covid-19. The pandemic has impeded the promotion of these new qualifications by reducing face-to-face access to schools and pausing the pausing the national NexT Level campaign. However, providers have been using a range of virtual strategies to raise students’ awareness of T Levels and maintain existing applicants’ engagement.
  • There are differences in current recruitment levels by route, with numbers being healthier for Education and Childcare followed by Construction, and Digital being more a cause for concern.
  • Ongoing challenges with the industry placement have been exacerbated by Covid-19. Although a valuable element of T Levels, more flexibility may be required, particularly if Covid-19 impacts the labour market further. It will be interesting to see to what extent the new package of support for T Level industry placements encourages employers to offer placements.
  • The government panellist praised the ‘incredible commitment and innovation’ providers are putting into T Levels and the ‘energy’ they have shown in using virtual recruitment methods. It is hoped that this will lead to a positive launch but the government will keep listening and responding to challenges providers are experiencing.