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Skills body unveils 'realistic' diploma

Construction & Built Environment qualication to give teenagers real experience

SECTOR skills council ConstructionSkills unveiled its education blueprint for 14 to 19 year olds with the launch of the Construction & Built Environment diploma last week.

The course, available from September 2008, comes after consultation with employers and education experts following a Government overhaul of vocational learning last year.

Partnerships between schools, colleges and employers will teach the diploma, which offers three levels of qualification and includes work-based learning.

Course guidance states: 'Each diploma must aim to achieve at least 50 per cent of principal learning through real or realistic sector situations.'

Level one is equivalent to a course of four to five GCSEs, while the third level is comparable to studying th ree A-levels.

The course features modules on designing, creating and the value and use of the built environment, as well as units covering English, maths and IT skills.

The first level includes elements such as the use of hand tools and equipment, as well as basic health and safety awareness.

The highest level contains units on site surveying, setting out, civil engineering, building services, maintenance and management.

Construction is one of five industry sectors fast-tracked to introduce the qualification by 2008, although 14 industry specific diplomas will be in place by 2013.

The development of the qualifications will continue until May 2007 when awarding bodies will submit qualifications to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for accreditation.

A CITB-ConstructionSkills spokesman said there been 37,000 expressions of interest in teaching the construction diploma.

A Construction Confederation spokesman said: 'We welcome this although we will need to see the full details of the proposals and satisfy ourselves the resources will be in place to actually deliver it.'

Amec learning and development manager Norah Moss said: 'It makes sense to introduce a qualification that will help young people get the type of experience not available through the traditional routes.'