Tech Levels: The Lowdown

  • Last updated 16 Aug 2016


As the government brings in more changes to the way you sit exams and gain qualifications, there is now something else to consider: Tech Levels.

What are Tech Levels exactly?

Tech levels are new qualifications that you could pursue after your GCSEs. They focus on vocational skills, rather than the purely academic, like A-levels. The government has proposed that a Tech Level should be around the same size as an A-level, so you’re looking at a vocational equivalent here. They cover a wide range of industries, from accounting and engineering, to IT and hospitality.

One of the differences with Tech Levels is that they can be endorsed by employers and trade associations. This is meant as an indicator of quality and what certain employers and universities are looking for, so that students can use this information to decide which qualifications to pursue to best prepare them for a particular career path.

Unlike the majority of A-level courses, Tech Levels also involve work experience with a relevant employer to put skills learnt into practice in a real-life context, and to develop them further.

Why might I study Tech Levels?

If you’re unsure of a purely academic route after your GCSEs and think you could be well suited to a more hands-on type of learning, then that’s where Tech Levels could come in. It can be a way of demonstrating an advanced level of skill in a certain field,

Tech Levels are set to replace the vast majority of vocational qualifications on offer at colleges (the government has stated around 80%), so it looks like this could well be your first port of call if you want to progress on the vocational side of things.

The work experience element of Tech Levels will also allow you to test out a working environment, and you’ll be able to see if it’s something you want to develop a career in in the long term. Tech Levels are also designed to tackle some of the current skills shortages in the UK, so it’s likely that you will be in a strong position to enter a career route such as an apprenticeship or school leaver programme after sixth form or college as employers will be on the lookout for your skills!

Read more:

Alternatives to A-levels

School leaver programmes: qualifications

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