Places on the construction and built environment diploma will be doubled for September 2009, under plans announced by the government.

There will be 8,332 places in the second year of the diploma compared with 4,000 for the first wave in September this year. The diploma will take the place of GCSEs for recruits.

The government has approved 86 consortiums to teach the diploma from 2009, compared with 44 for 2008, taking the total to 130.

Nick Gooderson, head of qualification and standards at training body ConstructionSkills, said: “The diploma will open up construction to a wider range of young people and ensure a bigger and better pool of potential recruits. Education is changing and with it the productivity and dynamism within our industry.”