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T Level in Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning

T Levels are new courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to three A-levels. These two-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for working life.

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Course Summary

Subject Area: Professional Construction
School Leaver - Vocational/Technical
Location: Hudson Building
Full Time or Part Time: FT
Level: 3
Number Of Years: 2
Interview Required?: Y
Hudson Building

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Course Information for Students

T Levels are new courses introduced in September 2020. They follow GCSEs and are equivalent to three A-levels. These two-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for working life.

T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study, or a higher apprenticeship.

The T Level in Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning is designed for those interested in pursuing a career in architecture, construction design, building information management, building or quantity surveying, site management, construction project management, site engineering, civil engineering and building services engineering.

You will participate in tutorial sessions and join our Professional Construction Employment and Skills Academy which has outstanding links with – and support from – numerous local construction companies including contractors, architects, building services firms, civil engineers, and structural engineers.

There are specialist pathways for Year 2 available in ‘Design Surveying and Planning’ or ‘Civil Engineering’.

For more information on the T Level, please visit


You need to be highly motivated and demonstrate a keen personal interest in pursuing a professional construction role. Offers of a place on the course are dependent on your achieved qualifications and successful interview. You will need one of the following:

  • A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 5 (higher C) or above, including English, Maths and Science. You will need a grade 6 or higher in Maths if you choose to pursue the Civil Engineering pathway of the course.
  • An Intermediate Diploma in a relevant subject area to a Merit or Distinction grade. The candidate should also have GCSE English and Maths at grade 5 or above (higher C). You will need a grade 6 or higher in Maths if you choose to pursue the Civil Engineering pathway of the course.

Maths is a critical element of this programme and is embedded in many of the units taken. Those accepted on the course with the older grade (C) in Maths must be able to demonstrate higher grade C ability – an additional assessment of suitability may be taken.

T Level courses will feature a technical qualification, which will include core theory, concepts and skills for construction and the built environment centred on design, surveying and planning aspects.

  • Year 1 – Core Component

The core content covers the knowledge, understanding and application of contexts, concepts, theories, and principles relating to the following 14 areas:

1. Health and safety

2. Science

3. Measurement

4. Building technology

5. Information and data

6. Digital technology

7. Construction mathematical techniques

8. Design

9. Construction and the built environment industry

10. Sustainability

11. Relationship management

12. Commercial business

13. Project management

14. Law

These topics are taught in a mixture of individualised timetabled sessions and also in project sessions where you will learn how to apply your knowledge and skills holistically to solve real-life problems. 

  • Year 2 – Specialist pathway: Design Surveying and Planning

The Occupational Specialist content is separated into four Performance Outcomes, with the skills needed to achieve threshold competence and the knowledge to underpin skill application across the following areas:

1. Measure the built environment

2. Analyse the built environment 

3. Design the built environment

4. Verify delivery of the built environment

Every T Level will include an industry placement with an employer, focused on developing the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These will last a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days) but can last longer. Employers can offer industry placements as a block, day release or a mix of these, and can discuss sharing part of the placement with another employer if necessary. 

Please note that we cannot guarantee your first choice of employer or type of placement, but we do our best to match you with the best available placement with our partner employers. Although we encourage students to initiate contact with construction employers for securing a placement, we will commit to finding a placement for all our T Level students if they cannot secure one themselves. 

This course is delivered on-site in the Hudson Building on the Roundhouse campus. The course has 1,200 guided learning hours – 600 hours per year. Guided learning hours mean activities that directly or immediately involve tutors and assessors in teaching, supervising and invigilating students, for example lectures, tutorials, online instruction, and supervised study.

Your weekly timetable will include sessions that cover the topics of the qualification in addition to employer-set project sessions in which you will learn how to apply your knowledge and skills holistically to solve real-life construction problems and projects. 

You will also attend tutorial sessions weekly to develop your employability skills, industrial placement preparation, personal development, social action, performance, wellbeing, and the next steps following your graduation from the course.

We work closely with our partner employers to engage them in the design and delivery of the curriculum where possible. This includes guest lectures from industry specialists and site trips to live construction projects and relevant museums.

Students are expected to undertake private study, prepare for assessment and undertake assessment when not under supervision, including preparatory reading, revision, and independent research in order to complete and show achievement for the qualification. 

For information related to the course assessment, please see the relevant section.

We encourage all our learners to comply with our dress code of a uniform shirt (with the Derby College Group Professional Construction logo), smart trousers/skirt, and sensible work shoes (not trainers).

You will also need to purchase various items of equipment, including safety boots for site visits, a scientific calculator and technical drawing equipment. The purchase of appropriate books and e-books is encouraged and guidance on which books to purchase will be given by subject specialists. There may also be a request for contributions to trips and visits as part of our Employment and Skills Academy activities.

The course is externally assessed by the awarding body Pearson in May/June of each year, with a chance to re-sit Year 1 exams in November. DCG teaching staff will also run regular formative assessment during the year, including mock exams and employer-set tasks to help prepare learners for the end-of-year examinations.

Core Component (Year 1) External Assessments:

  • Core Paper 1 – Science and Building Technology: this is a written examination of 2.5 hours that covers seven of the 14 topics in the core component. It weighs 33.33% of the core component (Year 1 content).

  • Core Paper 2 – Construction Industry and Sustainability: this is a written examination of 2.5 hours that covers seven of the 14 topics in the core component. It weighs 33.33% of the core component (Year 1 content).

  • Employer Set Project – This is an externally set project over 15.5 hours. It weighs 33.33% of the core component (Year 1 content).

The formative assessments run throughout the year will take similar formats to help prepare learners and develop their exam skills and techniques.

Occupational Specialist Component (Year 2) External Assessments:

  • The Surveying and Design for Construction and the Built Environment pathway has one externally set project that takes place over seven separate examination sessions in May/June with a total of 30 hours. The external project weighs 100% of the occupational specialist component. Students will respond to a client brief to measure a site, analyse information, design construction solutions, and verify delivery of those construction solutions. The project will consist of a portfolio of evidence, including an observation report to evidence practical skills, where they occur, to meet threshold competence where appropriate. This will be accompanied by video evidence.

Students who pass all the elements of their T Level will gain a nationally recognised certificate showing an overall grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*. It will also set out the details of what students have achieved on the course.

The T Level certificate will include:

  • an overall grade for the T Level, shown as Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*
  • a separate grade for the occupational specialism component (Year 2), shown as Pass, Merit, or Distinction
  • a separate grade for the core component (Year 1), using grades A* to E
  • details of the industry placement

This technical qualification is intended for students who want to progress to a career in the construction sector, with a focus on Surveying and Design or Civil Engineering.

Job roles could include:

  • Surveying Technician
  • Civil Engineering Design Technician
  • Digital Engineering Technician
  • Civil Engineering Technician
  • Architectural Technician
  • Construction Design Coordinator
  • Transport Planning Technician
  • Rail Engineering Design Technician.

The jobs available to students will be based on their individual abilities in the construction sector and will be supported by their achievement of this qualification.

Alternatively, and with employment in a qualifying role, students could progress sideways to Level 3 Construction apprenticeships to develop and gain certification of their occupational competence, or they could progress to higher level apprenticeships such as:

  • Level 4: Construction Site Engineering Technician, Construction Quantity Surveying Technician, Construction Design and Build Technician, Building Services Engineering Technician or Construction Site Supervisor.
  • Level 6: Building Control Surveyor, Building Services Design Engineer, Building Services Engineering Site Manager, Chartered Surveyor, Civil Engineer, Civil Engineering Site Manager, Construction Quantity Surveyor, Construction Site Manager, Design and Construction Manager, Architectural Assistant.

Where students do not have access to an apprenticeship or would prefer a more academic route, they could progress to relevant Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes or construction degree programmes such as Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Construction Surveying, Building Services Engineering, Construction Design and Architecture.

For more information, contact Derby College Group on 0800 0280289 or

Course Information for Employers

If you are an employer and would like to know more about the apprenticeships and professional training we deliver or how you can get involved in co-creating and co-delivering the curriculum, please contact us via email on, call us on 01332 387 421 or visit our employer pages here.

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...

Civil Engineers


Civil Engineers

Building and Civil Engineering Technicians


Building and Civil Engineering Technicians

Quantity Surveyors


Quantity Surveyors

Engineering Technicians


Engineering Technicians

Architectural and Town Planning Technicians


Architectural and Town Planning Technicians

More Careers Information at:
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DCG Success Stories

Luke Green

Luke Green

Luke ditches sixth form for college and a future in quantity surveying

When I was accepted, it was a weight of my mind because I knew I didn’t want to do the sixth form, and I wanted to know what I was going to do in the next academic year. I went for the course because it’s a nice mixture of on-site and off-site office work and you get multiple options for your career. I want to go on to a higher apprenticeship and then become a quantity surveyor.

Read More about Luke Green

Joyin Li sat in an office

Joyin Li

Joyin surveys the future in Professional Construction

I’m enjoying the course. It’s set up a bit like university; they give you the resources and tell you what to look at, tell you what you need to know to pass an assignment, and let you get on with it. It will give you skills to progress at university. I’m learning about architectural stuff, quantity surveying, building surveying building services, and engineering – all sorts of roles within Professional Construction. You get an insight into everything and get to pick what you want to do from there.

Read More about Joyin Li

Isaac Fowler

Isaac Fowler

Targeted lectures measure up for professional construction student

I'm enjoying college; you have more freedom than at school and the lessons are aimed at what I want to do for my future. The lecturers have both come from construction and they really know what they are talking about.

Read More about Isaac Fowler

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Course Information Last Updated On: March 13, 2023 10:53 am