Agriculture T Levels are an exciting new qualification, available to study at Hartpury College from September 2024. There’s no better place to study agriculture. For 75 years, farming has been at the heart of Hartpury and we’ve invested heavily in our facilities to create a dynamic, innovative and safe learning environment.
T Levels are a two-year technical programme designed for students aged 16-19 seeking a vocational route of further education. They offer a blend of classroom-based learning, practical training, and industry placement to ensure students develop the knowledge, skills and experience required for a career in agriculture.
Practical sessions are brought to life by our experienced and enthusiastic team of lecturers and farm staff, with access to 380-hectares of commercial farmland across five sites (including our 113-hectare Home Farm right here on campus), brand-new engineering workshops complete with specialist equipment, livestock, Agri-Tech Centre and Tech Box Park; part of our Digital Innovation Farm, and a Digital Studio that allows for training on the very latest agriculture machinery and technology using virtual reality and simulators.
Read on to find out more to discover why an Agriculture T Level may be the right choice for you.
What are the main benefits of T Levels?
Industry recognition: T Levels have been developed in collaboration with employers and industry experts to ensure that the skills and knowledge acquired are relevant to current industry demands. This recognition enhances the employability prospects of T Level graduates.
“If you’re considering a T Level at Hartpury, you’ll be pleased to know that we have long-established relationships with trusted industry partners and employers. This helps us to ensure all our course content is relevant for industry needs, but also benefits students looking to forge relationships through work placements or future employment.”
Trevor Hicks, Head of Agriculture at Hartpury College
Well-rounded skills: T Levels provide a balance of academic knowledge and practical skills. The curriculum is designed to develop both technical competence and core employability skills, such as communication, problem solving, and teamwork, ensuring students are equipped for the workplace.
Work placement opportunities: A significant feature of T Levels is the required industry placement. This gives students a chance to apply their learning in a real work environment, enhancing their practical skills, building industry contacts, and gaining invaluable experience. Students are able to put theory into practice before heading out into the industry at Hartpury’s commercial farm, ensuring they are well prepared for their industry placement.
While you’ll be able to find your own placement in a workplace that fits with your chosen career path, we have a range of support services and resources on campus to support your academic and career journey.
Our Innovation, Careers and Enterprise (ICE) Centre helps students with their career development right from their first day. The team provides careers advice and guidance as well as enrichment activities and placement support. They can help with things like CV and cover letter writing and even help you practice those all-important interview skills. You’ll also have the opportunity to study the Hartpury College Certificate, an enrichment programme that provides students with the tools to develop their career and work towards a career plan.
Progression routes: T Levels provide multiple pathways into higher education or employment. After completing a T Level, students can choose to enter employment directly, progress to higher apprenticeships or apply to study at university*. Uniquely, the Hartpury campus has a university on site that’s recently been rated triple Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), so many students choose to progress to higher education right here.
97% of college students progressed to employment, university or further study across all course areas (Hartpury College 2023)
Equivalent to A-levels: T Levels carry the same qualification level as three A-levels upon successful completion. They can be used to meet entry requirements for university* or as a route to higher-level apprenticeships.
What T Level subjects will Hartpury College offer in 2024?
Hartpury College will initially offer three T Levels in Agriculture:
T Level in Livestock Production - If you’re interested in developing your expertise in agriculture livestock production systems and the related environmental management and machinery operations, this T Level could be for you. You’ll cover everything from anatomy and physiology through to disease, nutrition, medicine and technology.
Here at Hartpury, our commercial Home Farm offers plenty of opportunities to get close to a range of livestock. Our farm is home to cows, calves, sheep as well as arable land. Our livestock facilities include a dairy bull-beef rearing unit, a 296-cubicle dairy unit and a Shearwell Te Pari Racewell HD3 Sheep Handler, which forms part of our Livestock Handling Project.
T Level in Crop Production - Learn how to optimise crop production systems and manage surrounding areas, whilst developing your practical skills across a range of field and container-based crop production systems. During the first year, you’ll gain an understanding of health and safety, sustainability, biosecurity, finance, data, the supply chain, and plant growth. In year two, you’ll expand your skills and expertise to include optimal crop yield and quality, as well as exploring the tools, equipment, and materials used in managing crops.
In addition to having access to Hartpury’s commercial arable farming operation, facilities like the Hartpury Digital Studio offer students a chance to refine their practical skills. Launched in May 2023, the studio is a dedicated student - employee - industry facing space where future technologies and machinery in agriculture can be explored safely through simulators and virtual reality headsets.
T Level in Land-Based Engineering - Demand for skilled and versatile engineers continues to grow as technology plays an ever-increasing role in the agricultural sector. This T Level will provide you with the core knowledge and skills across engineering systems and their repair, as well as vital workshop skills that can be applied in our on-site workshops and through your industry placement.
Hartpury College is using investment of £2.49m from the Department for Education to refurbish two agricultural engineering workshops and purchase industry-standard engineering, crop and livestock equipment that will support practical teaching across all three T Levels streams.
Why is Hartpury College a great place to study an agriculture T Level?
Hartpury College remains a beacon for education and training in the agricultural sector, and in 2022/23 the institution saw another rise in the number of students enrolling on farming-related courses. 99% of students would recommend Hartpury to a friend (Hartpury College 2023).
In addition to working with brands like Muller, Farmer Fresh and RJ Kerr, Hartpury’s on-site Home Farm acts as the perfect teaching farm for students studying college diplomas as well as a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. It also acts as a research hub for projects around the mental health of those in the farming community, sustainability, and agri-tech.
There’s an opportunity to explore data-driven smart farming in our Agri-Tech Centre and be exposed to real business innovations at the Tech Box Park , and having a university on site means that both institutions can take advantage of collaborative opportunities such as research projects and industry events.
Industry events like the recent Farmers Guardian focus group provide students with a voice, allowing for discussion and debate around the challenges faced by agriculture and how the industry can work to provide solutions.
We encourage students to participate in initiatives and competitions away from Hartpury, too. Recently, a former Hartpury College student was even named NFU Dairy Stockperson of the Year. Other Hartpury students have secured scholarships with bodies like British Wool and won the NFU Centenary Award.
Our team of lecturers and support staff work hard to keep learning fun and engaging, reflected in a 99% satisfaction with teaching rate (Hartpury College 2023).
What are the entry requirements for T Levels?
5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, to include English Language and Maths. Other occupation-specific requirements may apply.
How to apply for a T Level
Click here to learn more about making an application to study at Hartpury College.
If you’re still unsure, why not check out one of our open days where you’ll be able to tour the campus, meet the team and find out why Hartpury could be a great choice for you.
What happens after the application?
Once we receive your application, we’ll write and invite you to attend an interview and written assessment with a member of staff on your chosen course. The interview will give you an opportunity to discuss the course content, ask any questions you may have and go on a tour of the campus.
If practical and knowledge-based learning ahead of a career in agriculture is what you’re looking for, then a T Level at Hartpury College could be the perfect fit for you. If it’s not the right fit, don’t worry, we also have a range of diplomas, A-levels and apprenticeships for you to explore. View our full range of courses here.
*Correct as of November 2023. Dependant on course and university choice.