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New consortia gets green light for Diploma places

Schools minister Jim Knight announced this month that 57 new consortia – groups of employers, schools, colleges and training providers – have been given the green light to offer places on the Diploma in Construction and Built Environment (C&BE) from September 2010.
This is in addition to the 44 consortia currently delivering the Diploma and the 86 due to start this September.

This means that, from September 2010, young people in almost 80% of English local authority areas will have the option to study the Diploma and get their first taste of the industry.

The announcement accompanies the news from ConstructionSkills that the number of employers pledging their support for the qualification has now reached 1,150.

The Diploma in C&BE was launched six months ago.

It was developed in partnership with employers and enables young people to develop the skills employers require and ensures they are better prepared for the working world.

It combines practical skills development with theoretical and technical knowledge and means that, for the first time, the sector is represented within the mainstream national curriculum, giving the industry access to a new pool of potential young recruits.

The qualification ensures students have an excellent grasp of English, maths and IT skills, while understanding how they relate to the construction and built environment sectors.

Students learn a range of skills, from understanding the importance of health and safety issues to management challenges involved in construction.

A minimum of 10 days' work experience provides students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge, while individual project work encourages initiative.

Employers - including Wates, Balfour Beatty, Lovell, Seddon Group, Rok, CB&I, Kier Group and Bovis Lend Lease - are helping to deliver the Diploma in a variety of ways, from hosting work experience placements to designing realistic work-related projects that teachers can use to bring the curriculum to life.

Schools and colleges had to pass through a rigorous application process in order to be given the go-ahead and only those able to demonstrate their ability to provide the highest quality courses were successful.

All English universities have now accepted the Advanced Diploma, which is equivalent to 3.5 A-levels grades A*-E, as an accredited route into higher education.

All of the successful consortia have demonstrated good links with local employers, something which is crucial to the success of the qualification.

'I am extremely pleased that so many schools and colleges have been given the go ahead to teach the Diploma in C&BE,' said schools minister Jim Knight.

'The qualification is an exciting new choice for young people, which will help students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed at university or in the career of their choice,' he added.

'We are delighted that the Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment has continued its successful rollout across England with a total of 187 consortia now on board,' said Nick Gooderson, head of qualifications and standards at ConstructionSkills.

'The Diploma has been designed by employers for employers so that young people are better prepared for work and its implementation across the country will help ensure young people learn the skills they need.

'As the Diploma grows we will need more and more employers to make it a success and we urge any organisations not yet taking advantage of this unique opportunity to join the 1,150 businesses already working with tomorrow's workforce,' added Gooderson.

'We anticipate that working with the Diploma in C&BE will ultimately provide us with well-rounded new recruits who have the right mix of general employment skills and broad sector knowledge,' said Chris Simpson, education liaison adviser at Wates.

'The Diploma helps young people understand our sector and gives them the skills that will help them to work in a wide range of careers.

'It is great news that more young people will soon be able to gain an understanding of the range of professional roles available in construction. The Diploma will provide a new lease of life to the sector.'

Further details about the Diploma in Construction and The Built Environment can be found at www.cbediploma.co.uk .

15 April 2009

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