Responding to Education Select Committee’s consultation on the future of post-16 qualifications, the Institute of Directors has called for a further delay to the planned defunding of BTECs to allow for more time to generate employer capacity to provide T level placements, and for more support to help young people to access high-quality work experience.

In a poll of 300 business leaders by the IoD, only 14% indicated that they already offer T Level placements or plan to do so in future, while one third responded that they were unsure as to whether to do so. When asked why they were not doing so, 42% stated that they did not know enough about what was involved, 29% said that they do not have the necessary infrastructure, and a quarter cited other business pressures.

Alex Hall-Chen is a Senior Policy Advisor at the IoD. She said: The government’s skills strategy, and the introduction of T Levels as rigorous, employer-led qualifications, will raise the status of vocational education. The 45-day industry placement component of T Levels is a particular strength of the qualifications. However, we are concerned about the their practical implementation, and primarily the generation of sufficient demand among employers still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU.

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of a one-year delay to the defunding of BTECs and other applied general qualifications. However, we believe that a longer period of evaluation is still needed before alternative vocational qualifications are defunded.

“We also urge the Government to consider how optional, high-quality work experience can be systematically extended to all young people studying for post-16 qualifications, to help them to develop the employability skills which will enable them to thrive in the workplace.”