Lack of awareness a major challenge for T-Levels says CMI research

  • 62% of parents have not heard of T-Levels
  • Only 7% claim to know a lot about them

A survey of parents of 11-18 year olds commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the professional body for management and leadership, reveals that with only two years until the first T-Levels are rolled out, two thirds of parents (62%) have not heard of them - and only 7% of parents feel they know a lot about them.

Lack of awareness is greatest in lower income households and lower socio-economic groups where 4 in 5 parents (76% and 77% respectively) say they have never heard of T-Levels.

T-Levels are new post-16 technical education programmes, delivering qualifications which Ministers hope will become the technical equivalent to A levels. They are intended to provide a mix of technical knowledge and practical skills in a chosen industry or occupation and include a work placement of at least 45 days.

Although most parents had not heard of T-Levels, once explained many liked the proposed new programmes. Half (50%) thought T-Levels could develop the same status and value as A levels, just over half (55%) reported they could be better than existing technical or vocational study programmes and over two thirds (67%) said they could provide young people with the skills needed for the workplace.

Creating a gold standard technical qualification to rival A levels has been the long sought for holy grail of Ministers and policy makers - and proved just as difficult to find.

It would be easy to dismiss T-Levels as the next failed experiment in post-16 technical education. However, our survey shows that T-Levels could be popular. The challenge lies in informing and educating parents about their potential - as well as educating employers and addressing employer concerns about the delivery of the proposed work placement element.

Given the success of technical and vocational routes in widening participation and promoting social mobility, it is a real concern to see the low lack of awareness amongst parents from poorer backgrounds. This should be a key concern for Ministers and policy makers too.

Rob Wall, Head of Policy, CMI

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Notes to editors

Survey methodology

Research commissioned by CMI and conducted online by Opinium among a nationally representative sample of 1,008 parents of children aged 11-18, between 2nd and 6th August 2018.

Social grade D is used when referring to low socio economic groups (semi and unskilled manual workers) and lower income households refers to a household income of up to £20,000 per year.

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About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers' skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance. We have been registered as an apprentice assessment organisation by the Skills Funding Agency.

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