Guidance

Industry placements

Information about how industry placements for T Levels work and how employers can get involved.

Industry placements give students an opportunity to develop their practical and technical skills in a role directly relevant to their vocational course.

They also give employers the chance to ensure that young people are developing the skills and experience that industry needs.

Industry placements will form part of the new T Levels courses, which will give young people a technical alternative to A levels.

To help prepare for the introduction of T Levels, we are looking for employers across all sectors to work with local training providers to offer industry placements now.

Benefits for your business of having an industry placement student include:

  • developing existing staff’s mentoring and management skills
  • improving recruitment for entry-level jobs
  • giving opportunities to young people from a wide range of backgrounds, leading to a more diverse workforce
  • extra resources for projects, bringing in new and imaginative ideas
  • building partnerships with local training providers

To get involved in industry placements, email tlevel.placement@education.gov.uk for more information.

How long placements last

Industry placements can vary in length but must last for a minimum of 315 hours, not including lunch breaks. We expect most placements will last an average of 350 hours.

You can offer industry placements as a block, series of blocks, day release or a mix of these, depending on what works best for you, the training provider and the student. If you are not able to offer the full 315 hours, you can speak to your education and training provider about sharing part of the placement with another employer. If a placement is across 2 employers, you should share the student’s learning objectives with both to ensure the opportunities offered by each of the employers are complementary and form a cohesive placement.

Industry placements will make up 20% of the course, with the student spending 80% of their time in the classroom.

It is different from an apprenticeship where you typically spend 80% on-the-job and 20% in the classroom. An industry placement is also different from work experience, which is typically much shorter and usually involves a student observing the workplace.

Responsibilities

Employers’ responsibilities include providing:

  • a safe work environment
  • opportunities for the student to develop their technical skills within your industry
  • a line manager to support, supervise and mentor the student
  • an induction which includes explaining relevant policies and procedures
  • at the end of the placement, formal feedback on the student’s progress against the agreed learning objectives

Training providers are responsible for making sure students are ready for their industry placement. You can work with your training provider to help identify the best student for your placement and organisation.

You will also work with the training provider to plan the industry placement to make sure it gives the student the experience they need to complete their course, and puts into practice the theory and skills they have learnt in the classroom.

Before the placement begins, the training provider will agree a structured work plan with you that will include learning objectives specific to your industry.

Equipment

You will need to provide the relevant access to your systems and equipment the student will need to complete the learning objectives agreed in the work plan.

Your training provider has access to funding to help with industry placements and can use this to help you with upfront costs, such as providing protective gear or specialist equipment.

Working hours

We expect most placements will take place during the normal working day, but also recognise that in some occupations it may involve working outside normal working hours. You should agree working patterns with your training provider as part of the work plan discussion.

Pay

Industry placements are part of a course and there is no legal requirement or expectation that students will be paid. However, you can decide whether or not to pay the student, and how much.

Student travel

You may decide to pay for or contribute to the student’s travel and subsistence costs. If costs are not covered as part of the industry placement, your training provider may pay for the student’s travel and/or subsistence.

You and the training provider have a shared duty of care for the student during their placement. Your training provider will provide any legal, health and safety and insurance documents you may need as part of the placement.

Health and safety

Employers are responsible for health and safety in the workplace. By law, you are responsible for providing a safe working environment, appropriate training and making sure that the student receives an adequate induction.

If your business is involved in agriculture, construction or manufacturing, it may be considered a ‘high-risk environment’.

You should consider if you need to do anything further to manage the risks for young people, such as supervising the student when using equipment.

If your business uses heavy or dangerous machinery, you check the student is old enough to use it before giving them training.

Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) young people and work experience guidance covers employer responsibilities and is relevant to industry placements.

Employers’ liability insurance

If your industry placement student is doing tasks that form part of your normal work, and you already have up-to-date employer’s liability insurance and public liability insurance, then you should not need additional cover.

Because your student will be working for you for more than 2 weeks, you will need to notify your insurer about their employment.

If you require further information or guidance on insurance, please see the HSE’s guidance and talk to your own insurance company.

Safeguarding for under 18s

Training providers are responsible for safeguarding and the welfare of students on industry placements.

They will check your policies and procedures to make sure your workplace is a safe environment for their student and may carry out a site visit before the placement.

DBS checks

Employers do not generally need to carry out a basic, standard or enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check on members of staff supervising young people aged 16 or 17. This includes freelancers.

However, your training provider may ask a line manager or supervisor to undergo a basic DBS check if they feel this is necessary.

A student may need to have an enhanced DBS check before starting an industry placement in certain sectors. For example, a placement in the education sector where you may need to check that the student is not barred from regulated activity relating to children.

Your training provider has access to funding to help with industry placements and may use this to help you with any costs for enhanced DBS checks on their students.

Support available

Training providers will support employers throughout the industry placement, including assistance with the necessary paperwork and support with designing the industry placement.

During the placement, you will have a named contact to call on in case of any issues or concerns. They will also arrange visits during the placement to check how the student is getting on.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) provides advice on T Level industry placements to employers. They can also match employers with local training providers who offer industry placements. You can contact them on 08000 150 600.

Find out more about the introduction of T Levels.

You can also listen to the British Chamber of Commerce podcast on T Levels and industry placements.

You can find further information about the approved framework of industry placement models and support for providers and employers in the industry placements policy update.

Register your interest in offering an industry placement

To find out more about getting involved in industry placements, contact NAS on 08000 150 600 or email tlevel.placement@education.gov.uk.

Published 25 March 2019
Last updated 19 May 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated information about how long placements must last.
  2. First published.