IoD calls for pause on BTEC defunding to give time to generate T Level capacity

The Institute of Directors (IoD) have today called for a halt to the planned defunding of BTEC qualifications to allow time for employers to generate capacity for the new T Levels qualifications.

Their comments come alongside the Education Select Committee’s consultation on the future of post-16 qualifications.

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 (32%) responded that they were unsure as to whether to do so. When asked why they were not doing so.

Another 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.

Senior IoD Policy Advisor Alex Hall-Chen said in light of the news: “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.”