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02 January 2007

Construction and Built Environment Diploma is formally recognised as ‘rigorous and challenging’

With less than a year before the first wave of students throughout England begin to take the Construction and Built Environment (C&BE) Diploma UCAS, the body responsible for deciding the points system used to report achievement for entry to higher education, announced the C&BE Diploma would be worth as much as 3.5 A-levels, providing a wake up call to employers yet to engage with the new qualification.

Schools Minister Jim Knight accepted the recommendation that the new Diplomas should be judged equivalent to 5 GCSEs grade A*-G at the foundation level, 7 GCSEs grade A*-C at the higher level and 3.5 A Levels grade A*- E at the advanced level in the achievement and attainment tables.

Jim Knight went on to confirm an investment of a further £45 million in teacher training to support the roll out of Diplomas in 2008/09. He also announced details of £28 million cash funding for Diplomas in 08/09, meaning schools and colleges teaching Diplomas to 14-16 year olds will receive around an extra £1,000 per Diploma student. This funding is on top of the cash already invested in the system for 14-19 education over the next 3 years, which includes £110 million so that 14-16 year olds can get hands-on  practical experience in schools, colleges and the workplace and £15 million to ensure joint working between schools and colleges.

Nearly 4,000 pupils across England are set to take the C&BE Diploma from September 2008. It offers employers in the sector a real opportunity to help inform the education of young people and shape the skills of the future workforce but greater numbers are needed to offer work experience, teaching support or site visits to give students an insight into industry. A large number of employers are already involved including Wates, Balfour Beatty, Lovell, G&J Seddon, CB&I, Kier Group and Bovis Lend Lease, but many more are yet to fully engage. Today’s announcement should change that.

Schools Minister Jim Knight said: “Diplomas are the first qualification to be developed with such a high level of input from employers and universities. QCA and UCAS are confirming these are rigorous and challenging qualifications. Pupils can now be confident they will study valuable, first class qualifications when they take a Diploma, and universities and colleges can be assured of their quality. We have reached another important milestone in delivering the Diplomas, with the opportunity to combine theoretical and practical options that brings. “

Nick Gooderson, Head of Standards and Qualifications, ConstructionSkills said: “Since September 2005 we have worked closely with industry, Government and education providers to develop the C&BE Diploma. We have made good progress with employers to make sure that they don’t miss out on this opportunity to get involved with shaping and delivering the new qualification, but the QCA and UCAS announcements provides tangible evidence that this is a heavyweight qualification offering real value to industry in terms of training the future workforce.”

Chris Simpson, Training Manager, Wates, said: “Here at Wates we are passionate about the continuing development of the construction and built environment industries, and fully support initiatives like the Diploma, which can only serve to improve perceptions and people. Changing the image, and content of young people’s introductions to our thriving sectors are key to ensuring a larger, better prepared pool of recruits for employers like ourselves to build Britain’s future.”

The Construction & Built Environment Diploma has been developed in consultation with industry to ensure it reflect the needs of employers. It combines practical skill development with theoretical and technical knowledge, taught by people with relevant industry knowledge. It will give young people the opportunity to gain real hands on experience, previously unavailable through traditional education methods.

The new Diploma will require young people to demonstrate numeracy and literacy, but also ability in a number of important practical issues relevant to the construction and built environment sector such as health and safety, sustainability, work based practical learning, and the impact of the built environment on the Community. The Diploma will teach students about professions such as architecture, civil engineering and building services, the regulatory framework, design processes, and the enterprise and management challenges which construction poses.

Following the announcements Chris Meunier, Director of Curriculum Development, Thames Valley University said: ‘The Reading area has long been at the forefront of work-related construction learning, and we have looked forward to the Diploma as a great way to bring all of this experience together. The strength of the qualification for this area lies in the design- with employers, for employers, ensuring work-ready young people. We hope to engage students deeper in learning, by allowing them to experience all areas of the UK’s biggest industry.’

Employers are being urged to find out more about getting involved by visiting or through requesting a copy of the new Welcome Pack. To register your interest in supporting the delivery of the C&BE Diploma contact Jenny English on or

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