Construction diploma is 'oversubscribed' in some areas though takeup by students of all Diplomas is lower than expected

The government's new Diplomas will be taken up by only half the number of expected students, according to figures released by the Department of Education.

But Constructionskills has announced that applications for the Construction Diploma are showing greater success, with courses in some areas “oversubscribed”.

The official government estimate for students starting Diploma courses this September was 38,000, based on potential places, but it has been announced that only 52% of that figure (a total of 20,000 pupils) will end up starting them this year.

Last year, schools minister Jim Knight said 50,000 was a “ballpark figure” for the number of students that would take one of the five new Diplomas in Society, Health and Development; IT; Construction and the Built Environment; Creative and Media; and Engineering.

But Constructionskills said the Diploma for Construction and the Built Environment had received an “excellent response” from pupils.

44 consortia made up of schools, colleges, training providers and employers, are running the new qualification, with up to 70 construction companies involved. Major contractors on the scheme include Bovis Lend Lease, Laing O’Rourke, Balfour Beatty, Lovell, Wates, Rok, Kier, Persimmon Homes and Carillion/

Nick Gooderson, head of standards and qualifications at Constructionskills, said: “Places in the Sheffield schools and colleges offering our Diploma have actually been oversubscribed thanks to the massive interest of young people keen to learn more about Construction and the Built Environment.

"This is a very controlled roll out as only 44 consortias (partnerships made up of schools, colleges, training providers and employers) are running the new qualification. Therefore, there is still time to do more work before the C&BE Diploma is extended to other areas in 2009 and beyond.