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Jun 8, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

In line with its ongoing focus on skills training aimed at boosting the economy, the UK recently announced the first schools and colleges that will be tasked with teaching new technical qualifications dubbed “T-levels.” Here’s a closer look at what to expect, as recently reported by

About T-Levels

Designed as an alternative to A-levels, T-levels set out to give more students access to necessary vocational training. Specifically, T-levels will allow young people to study in specific sectors. The ultimate aim? To create “work fit” young people in vital industries.

Described by the government as “the biggest overhaul of post-school education in 70 years,” officials hope the program will support Britain’s workforce in the wake of Brexit. Currently, the UK finishes 16th of 20th among developed economies in terms of the technical education of its residents.

New Developments

Now comes news that the UK has designated 52 high schools and colleges as the first to teach T-levels. Beginning in 2020, these institutions will start offering UK teens coursework -- “created by an expert panel of employers” -- in key industries, such as digital, construction and education and childcare. The following year, additional courses will debut in other sectors, such as finance, engineering, hair and beauty, and creative.

While Prime Minister Theresa May has heralded T-levels for their potential to help the UK “compete globally,” detractors say the program is “little more than meaningless spin.”  Meanwhile, Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary has expressed concerns over whether T-levels will fall short of their potential. “World-class technical education cannot simply be delivered by press release, while avoiding the impact of years of cuts on the sector,” she said.

Others say the outcomes ride on execution and funding. A report from the Resolution Foundation proposes that buy-in from employers as well as “appropriate levels of funding” are integral to the success of the program.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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