Just half of the original 3,000 students who were expected to sign up for the construction and built environment diploma are actually on the course, it was revealed this week.

Plans to have up to 40,000 students across all diplomas were cut by half in May, but Ed Balls, secretary for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said on Monday that 12,000 students were currently enrolled.

Numbers for the individual diplomas have not been officially released, but training body ConstructionSkills says it was told the figure for the construction diploma was “more than 1,500”. Based on the total of 12,000 students across all five diplomas, the training board said they believed the true number was between 1,500 and 2,000.

The industry has expressed disappointment at the figures, blaming lack of awareness and poor publicity from the government.

Nick Gooderson, head of standards and qualifications at ConstructionSkills admitted numbers were “lower than projected”, and said more needed to be done to make parents and students aware of the course.