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With just 5 weeks to go, School Minister visits school offering the Construction & Built Environment Diploma

With just 5 weeks to go until the launch of the new Construction and the Built Environment (C&BE) Diploma, Schools Minister Jim Knight visited one of the first schools to offer the revolutionary qualification from September 2.

According to the Minister: “Diplomas are a massive reform which will offer exciting new choices for young people to learn what they need to in the way they want to, thanks to a unique blend of theoretical and practical education.

“Employers are telling us that they think the Diploma will give students a head start, opening up opportunities and equipping young people with the necessary knowledge and skills for university or work.”

During the visit to Serlby Park School in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, Jim Knight met some of the first students in the country who have already opted to take the C&BE Diploma, as well as some of the employers who will be supporting its roll out.

One of the students preparing to take the Diploma in September at Serlby Park is 14 year old Max Wragg.

Max said he’d chosen to take the C&BE Diploma “as I wanted a qualification which was not like 'school' and would give me the chance to meet new people from other schools and get involved in real life projects".

Currently there are 44 groups of schools, colleges, training providers and employers (or 'consortia') across England that will run the C&BE Diploma from September. More than 3,000 pupils have already committed to take the course with more signing up every week.

But a further 86 consortia have pledged to run the Diploma from September 2009, covering a further 8,000 further pupils. At least 70 construction companies across England will be offering students up to 10 days of site work experience as part of their Diplomas. Major contractors supporting the scheme include Bovis, Laing O'Rourke and Wates.

The C&BE Diploma can be taken along side GCSEs, A-Levels and vocational subjects. Students will cover a number of topics from the impact that infrastructure and the transport services have on people and places, to sustainability, the environment and onsite health and safety.

The Minister for Schools met representatives from local employer partners A1 Housing and Haslam Homes who are supporting the Diploma by offering students work experience, site visits and specialist knowledge where needed.

The Construction and the Built Environment Diploma is one of five new Diplomas being offered to 14-19 year olds in September 2008. The other four are: Engineering; Society, Health and Development; IT; and Creative and Media. This is the first wave of diplomas being offered to student, with plans for a total of 17 disciplines to be available nationwide by 2013.

Summing up the visit, Jim Knight said: It’s great to meet the employers here today who have helped us shape the Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment. Support from employers and the academic world are essential to the success of the Diploma.”

For further information please contact Andrew Mabey – 020 7367 9807

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Jim Knight with Students from Serlby Park School

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