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- 44 pioneering partnerships to offer places on brand new Construction and Built Environment Diploma-

Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson and Schools Minister Jim Knight today announced that 3954 places on the new Construction and the Built Environment (C&BE) Diploma, which has been developed in partnership with employers, will be available for young people from September 2008.

The Construction and the Built Environment Diploma will enable young people to develop the skills employers are looking for and mean they are better fit for work in industry. Combining practical skill development with theoretical and technical knowledge, taught by people with relevant industry knowledge, the Diploma will give young people the opportunity to gain real hands on experience, previously unavailable through traditional education methods, and a better insight into the industry. It will help the effective transition of young people from education into adult working life.

The Construction and the Built Environment Diploma responds to the industry’s skills requirements, and has been developed in conjunction with some of the construction sector’s leading employers including AMEC and Mitie. The new qualification will ensure students have an excellent grasp of English, maths and IT skills, whilst understanding how they relate to industry. Students will learn a range of skills, for example from understanding the importance of health and safety issues to management challenges involved in construction. A minimum of 10 days’ work experience will also provide students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge, while individual project work will encourage initiative.

Today 44 groups of schools, colleges , training providers and employers (‘consortia’) have been given the green light by ministers to offer places on the Construction and the Built Environment Diploma course to students starting in 2008.

In addition to the Construction and the Built Environment Diploma, courses will be offered by a further 101 consortia covering areas including Creative and Media; Society and Development; IT; and Engineering. Overall up to 40,000 places will be available for students to help them progress towards skilled jobs and further and higher education.

The Chair of the Diploma Development Partnership, Simon Bartley, said:

“This is the first time employers and government have worked so closely to develop such a qualification. When available, its content will have been agreed and accredited by the employers within the construction sector. Content is being developed by Diploma Development Partnerships (DDPs) made up of stakeholders across education, government and industry.

“Business needs in the construction sector are represented through the 6 Sector Skills Councils involved in the Diploma Development Partnership and their involvement has resulted in a qualification that prepares students for our industry and the wider world of work.”

Secretary of State for Education and Skills Alan Johnson said:

“Diplomas will be an attractive and flexible option for young people. They are just one part of our plans to encourage more young people to stay in education and training. With fewer low-skilled jobs, we need more high-skilled young people. Diplomas will provide the missing link - creating the mix of vocational and academic education which we’ve lacked for so long. Their introduction is one of the most radical educational developments taking place anywhere in the world and we are putting funding, energy and commitment into making them a reality.”

Minister for Schools and 14-19 Learners Jim Knight said:

“Employers have been involved in their development from the start, so that Diplomas bring them what they need – young people with sound reading, writing, maths and ICT skills, who come equipped with an understanding of industry.

“This is an exciting time for education and skills - and for the schools and colleges whose local students will be the first people to benefit from these brand new qualifications”.

The new Diploma will allow students to progress to further study, university or work. Students will be able to choose Diplomas alongside GCSEs or A-levels or in place of them.

£90 million of central government funding will help regional consortia to work up the detail of the new qualifications in each area.

For more information visit or the press release.

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