Leicester City Council: T Levels as an entry to employment

Leicester sees T Levels as an entry to employment for young people. The council has used learning from apprenticeships and the Kickstart Scheme to put in place robust systems and support for team managers and students undertaking industry placements.

View all Workforce articles

Corporate support for T Levels 

Leicester City Council worked with Leicester College to pilot two T Levels industry placements within the council’s city development and neighbourhoods division; a service area keen to diversify the age profile of their workforce. Two placements were hosted in the housing team:  

  • onsite construction (carpentry and joinery) 
  • building services engineering (electrical installation).

Following the successful pilot, T Levels have been implemented as an ‘entry to employment’ route for young people alongside apprenticeships and graduate programmes. When organisational development review recruitment requests, the team assess whether there are ‘entry to employment’ opportunities to fill the posts.  

Future planned industry placements include: 

  • twelve business administration placements within the following services:  
    • engagement and library support 
    • promotion and business support 
    • children’s and young people  
    • service development  
    • contracts  
    • waste services  
    • tourism, culture and inward investment  
  • one further building services engineering (electrical installation) placement in the estates and building services 
  • one maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing placement the estates and building services 
  • one quantity and surveying placement the estates and building services 
  • two digital placements within the tourism, culture and inward investment division.  

Strong relationships with local colleges 

The council works closely with Leicester College and Loughborough College to offer T Level industry placements across a breadth of subject areas, from construction to business administration.  

The benefits of hosting placements are promoted to managers through internal communication channels and ‘entry to employment’ workshops. Once potential placement managers are identified, they work with organisational development to outline the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of hosting a placement. Job descriptions are also tailored for each placement using templates provided by the education provider. 

The colleges advertise T Level placements on the students’ job board and collate potential candidate CVs. Managers then arrange a presentation for potential candidates to promote the council as a local employer and career choice, with more information about the service area and expectations from the industry placement. Interviews are then arranged with potential candidates.  

Planning management sessions are held before T Level placements start. This is an induction with the manager and student to go through the benefits of the industry placement, available support, safeguarding and health and safety. A corporate mentoring scheme is being set up, in collaboration with the young employee network, which will also give previous ‘entry to employment’ students the chance to share their skills and knowledge with new students.  

T levels as an entry to employment  

In a bid to promote Leicester as an employer of choice, T Levels have been used to attract local talent and build a younger workforce profile. Under the Care Leaver Covenant, local care leavers and previously looked after children are prioritised, with a guaranteed interview following a T Level industry placement application. 

The city development and neighbourhoods division has been key in driving the support of T Level industry placements and piloted the first placements. This has given scope for the council to understand the potential of T Levels and the opportunities they bring in recruiting young people at a pivotal point in their career.

The organisation is beginning to see T Levels as a stepping stone in a young person’s early career. As part of the industry placement process, organisational development work with managers to ensure a career pathway is put in place. Once students complete their qualification, they can apply to a relevant job role at the council and use the knowledge and experience gained from the industry placement as part of their application. Leicester used learning from the Kickstart Scheme to establish ‘how to apply for council roles’ sessions for young people. Potential candidates are shown how to apply for jobs on the council website, how to answer questions and what to expect from the application process.  

How T Levels fit into Leicester City Council’s workforce strategy  

Workforce planning is a key strategic corporate priority at Leicester. Managers feed into the development of the workforce strategy through workshops and training which in turn ensures the strategy is fully embedded into the culture of the organisation.  

Managers are trained to understand the purpose of capacity planning and skills gap analysis so they can use these tools within their own service. T Level placement opportunities have been identified as part of this process which organisational development hope will lead to permanent employment or a Level 4 apprenticeship (equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree).  

While it is early days for T Level placements at Leicester, the Kickstart Scheme saw 42 placements lead to 21 students remaining at Leicester, and the council hopes to see a similar trend for T Levels.