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Ed Balls launches Diploma in Construction and Built Environment

Wednesday 3 September saw the launch of the Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (C&BE), with over 3,000 students across the country starting the school term on this brand new qualification, which is set to bridge the gap between vocational and academic studies.

To mark this milestone, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. the Rt. Hon. Ed Balls MP, visited Year 9 students from St Bonaventure’s School at Newham Sixth Form College on their first day of the course. During the visit the Secretary of State saw the students examining the designs for the nearby London 2012 site and constructing their own model buildings for the Olympic village.

Commenting on the Diploma, Ed Balls said: “Education is all about opportunities - a good education opens doors. It is the single best way to do well and to gain the skills to succeed…

“I want to see a situation where every single young person has a range of interesting, exciting and challenging options ahead of him or her at every stage of their education, so that they never feel tempted to drop out or give up. This year will see some of the biggest steps towards this goal yet.”

The C&BE Diploma has been developed by employers, schools, colleges and universities, to help young people aged 14 to 19 realise their potential and gain knowledge and skills in a ‘real world’ environment. It can be taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs, A-levels and vocational subjects and it aims to equip students with skills they can apply to the next stage of their development; be that university, college or the world of work.

Nick Gooderson, Head of Standards and Qualifications at ConstructionSkills – the lead partner in the development of the Diploma – said: “Today is a celebration of all the hard work undertaken to ensure the Diploma is a success. Employers, universities, schools and colleges have all teamed up to deliver a truly unique qualification. The key now is to maintain the momentum as the number of students taking the course increases.”

Many employers are equally enthusiastic about the new qualification. Val Lowman, Managing Director of Be Onsite, the not for profit arm of Bovis Lend Lease, said: “For many years now, the industry has been campaigning to ensure that workers come into the sector with the right skills. The C&BE Diploma is an excellent platform for shaping tomorrow’s workforce and we are very excited to be part of this innovative programme.”

For more information on the C&BE Diploma, visit

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