People 1st calls for hospitality T Levels preparation to start now ahead of consultation submission

06/02/2018 - 08:45
UK work training organisation People 1st has made a last to call to hospitality employers to share their views on the T Level qualifications set to be introduced for the catering and hospitality sectors in 2022.

The education consultantcy is looking for further contributions from industry stakeholders to add to their written response to government, a response which aims to ensure that the qualifications reflect the needs of employers and equip students with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in hospitality.

Described by the organisation as “one of the biggest overhauls of post-school education in 70 years”, the full-time technical qualifications are part of a government plan to address worker shortages across a variety of industries while making it easier for young people to find jobs.

The first tranche of T Levels are set to be rolled out in 2020, which People 1st says will give employers and colleges an extra two years to prepare and learn before the programme is introduced for the hospitality sector.

People 1st is hoping that the new qualifications will be an “important cog” in finding a solution to a skills shortage in the sector which it estimates need an additional 1.3 million staff by 2024.

Martin-Christian Kent, an executive at People 1st, has urged companies to get involved in the development of the qualifications, particularly those involved in the development of the new apprenticeships, as they will already have considered the skills, knowledge and behaviours for the relevant occupations in the sector.  

“We welcome the introduction of the T level, as it provides a rigorous and viable alternative to the A- level and the apprenticeship,” said Kent. “That said, we believe that its content and assessment should, as far as possible, mirror and build on the reformed apprenticeships. 

“It is important that this qualification equips students with the skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in their chosen career and is not stretched in other directions to create identikit T levels across different sectors. 

“There also needs to be clear and relevant kitchen and front-of-house provision at level 2 that is adequately funded and that equips students with the skills and knowledge to start their T level.”

The new T level qualifications will be two-year programmes at level 3 that equip 16-19 year olds to enter specific occupations, including hospitality, and embed a significant work placement. 

They are expected to bring many changes to the way colleges deliver their full-time programme and to the ways in which they work with employers to organise and manage work placements.

Kent added: “The placement in the new T levels is a critical part of the delivery and expectations will need to be clearly agreed upfront and carefully managed, with reporting made simple and not burdensome for the employer or college.”

Recent research from People 1st highlighted the “critical role” colleges play in developing future talent for the hospitality sector, finding that 28,000 chef students completed their course last year, alongside thousands of food and beverage students. 

Sean Wheeler, People 1st, added: "It is critical that these qualifications reflect the needs of employers and equip students with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in hospitality.

“This consultation provides us with an opportunity to help shape their development and I hope the government will continue to work with employers at every stage.” 

People 1st has given employers until Thursday (8 February) to sumit their comments to the consultation reponse.

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