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Training Supplement: Improve the sector - get a diploma

Next September, 10,000 students could be enrolling on two hvacr diplomas. Employer involvement will be key to their success
Training Supplement: Improve the sector - get a diploma
TO address the UK skill shortage, 14 diplomas have been set up across a range of industries. Each is driven by the requirements of business, and developed in conjunction with employers, skills councils, education establishments and awarding bodies.

Two diplomas are being introduced for the hvacr sector: Engineering, with more than 6,000 places; and Construction & the Built Environment. SummitSkills, the sector skills council for building services engineering, is responsible for their development.

Operating at three levels, the diplomas will provide flexible training routes, appropriate for the full range of learners, from university candidates to the less academic. Students will be able to choose a combination of diplomas, GCSEs and A-levels.

The diplomas cover all aspects of building services engineering, with the option to specialise in a particular industry. In addition to job-specific learning, the diplomas will ensure students have an excellent grasp of English, maths and ICT, relating these subjects to workplace applications. Students will also learn a range of life skills, including teamwork, communication and self-management.

To ensure the diplomas' success employer involvement is imperative to maintain their vocational relevancy. Employers can assist in a number of ways:

Provide places for the statutory ten-day work experience

Allow teachers to spend time with their company to ensure their industry knowledge is up to date

Visiting schools and colleges to talk to young people

Supplying schools and colleges with resource material

Providing real technical problems for young people to solve.

In return, employers will be supplied with a pool of potential employees trained to a high standard, with a good understanding of a particular sector and experience of the work place. Support for this scheme will also enhance a positive reputation, helping to attract potential recruits and clients.

SummitSkills chief executive Keith Marshall said: 'The Diplomas are a key development for our industries, improving understanding of building services engineering and the quality of people recruited into the sector. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with employers and deliverers to ensure that the diplomas are a success'.

'Their introduction is one of the most radical educational developments taking place anywhere in the world,' said Alan Johnson, secretary of state for education and skills.

'Diplomas will provide the missing link - creating the mix of vocational and academic education, which we've lacked for so long,' he added.

To get involved, email the Learning & Skills Council at or call 0870 900 6800.

For more on the Construction and Built Environment Diploma, visit

For more on the Engineering Diploma visit ￿
1 August 2007


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