Industry's Response to Department for Education Announcement on T Levels

Published 31st Jan 2024 by Charlotte Grant-West

On Tuesday 30 January, 2024, Robert Halfon, the Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education announced that the Department for Education (DfE) has made the decision not to roll out the Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy (HBBT) T Level from September 2024 as originally intended.

Instead, they will explore the development of a T Level which focuses solely on the Beauty sector, aiming for this to be introduced after 2025.  

This move comes after feedback from, and extensive consultation with individuals within the hairdressing and barbering industry aiming to determine the most effective path for learners to acquire the knowledge necessary for successful careers.

The Industry's Response So Far...

Awarding organisation, VTCT has stressed that it is dedicated to supporting the advancement of the industry by ensuring that its products are in line with the needs of employers and industry-leaders.

Alan Woods OBE, Chief Executive of VTCT, said:  

“Whilst we understand the work and preparation that has already gone into creating the T Level, VTCT’s core purpose has always been to support learners to obtain a qualification giving a direct line of sight to a job. We believe the most effective way to achieve this is by listening to the voices of our industries and actively implementing their recommendations. We are proud to see this ethos being reflected with the T Level and look forward to progressing with the new route announced by the Department for Education.”  

Caroline Larissey, NHBF chief executive said: 

“Following several meetings, where we outlined the concerns of our Members, we are pleased that the Minister has listened and taken on board our recommendations to support our sector, by focusing on a Beauty T level and no longer introducing a combined Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy (HBBT) T Level.

Employers from hair salons and barbershops will always prefer that a prospective employee should enter the sector via a “job ready” route or qualification, such as an apprenticeship or through an equivalent college-based Level 2 qualification.

Emerging findings from our latest state of the industry survey in January show that finding experienced staff and apprentices is still a major barrier to growth for the sector.

It is envisioned that the beauty T level will provide academic kudos with stakeholders for progression into advanced therapies and aesthetics, because of its greater technical and academic bias compared with the traditional vocational pathway’."

Charlotte Grant-West

Charlotte Grant-West

Published 31st Jan 2024

Charlotte oversees the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. With over a decade of experience as a journalist, Charlotte was formerly Editor of Modern Barber and HJ Men, Social Editor at Netmums and Features Writer at Boots Health & Beauty magazine. She loves any products that make her hair bigger and more voluminous, and loves a behind-the-scenes peek at anything hair-related – whether it's a factory tour, BTS on a shoot or backstage at fashion week.

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