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Work placement co-design and pilot project

31 March 2017

In the Post-16 Skills Plan last year, the Government accepted the Independent Panel on Technical Education’s recommendation that every 16 to 19-year-old learner undertaking a college-based technical education route will be entitled to a high quality, substantial work placement. Work placements are structured periods in employment that are expected to last between one and three months. They will be integral to the college-based technical education routes as they will provide learners with the opportunity to develop the specific technical and practical skills, knowledge, and behaviours required for skilled employment in their field of study, ensuring they are ‘work ready’. For this reason, successful completion of a relevant, substantial work placement will be a requirement for full certification of the T-Levels introduced from 2019. Government recognises that this represents a major shift in practice for the post-16 sector, as providers will be expected to increase the availability of work placements for a large proportion of their learners as well as offer longer, more substantial placements than the one-two week work experiences traditionally offered (which tend to focus on developing softer employability skills). To support the sector in making this shift, the Department for Education (DfE) is launching a Work Placements Pilot in North-West, West Midlands and London regions. Following a competitive tender process, the pilot design is being led by The Challenge, an organisation which may be known to some of you as a National Citizen Service provider. DfE are keen for The Challenge to engage with employers and post-16 providers to design effective work placement models and a set of principles appropriate for the occupational areas within each technical route. These different models will then be piloted by providers and employers within the relevant occupational areas, by hosting a series of work placements for students on related vocational and technical courses during academic year 2017/18. This scheme will help the Government to identify what ‘good placements should look like’ across different routes as well as identifying specific challenges and ways of overcoming these before the implementation of these routes from academic year 2019/20. It will also support providers to prepare for and make the shift to offering the substantial, longer-term work placements expected as part of the technical education routes. Providers will be financially compensated for their involvement in designing these work placement models, and funding will be available to boost in-house capacity of providers to implement these placements in the 17/18 academic year. If you would like to play a part in shaping the future of technical education through design and/or implementation of the work placements, please contact colleagues at The Challenge: Alex Williams or Oliver Waterhouse . To note - Timeline as follows: Work Placements April – July 2017: Employers and providers brought together to design effective work placement models for the Technical education routes September 2017 – July 2018: Providers and employers test the models by hosting work placements for students on related courses during academic year 2017/18 July 2018 – September 2018: Case studies and guidance produced on ‘what good placements look like’, challenges and ways of overcoming these. Qualifications: March – November 2017 – Standards (which form the basis of technical qualifications) developed by panels of industry professionals April 2018: Institute for Apprenticeships intended to take over responsibility for Technical Education Spring 2018+: Qualification content for first routes developed for approval by the Institute for Apprenticeships September 2019: First teaching of new Technical Education routes qualifications Remaining routes phased in progressively after this.