Schools minister announcement will mean nearly 80% of young people can study for construction qualification

Schools minister Jim Knight has announced that 57 new consortiums have been given the green light to offer places on the Diploma in Construction and Built Environment (C&BE) from September 2010.

The new consortia, which includes employers, schools, colleges and training providers, is in addition to the 44 consortia currently delivering the diploma, and the 86 due to start this September.

From the end of 2010, young people in almost 80% of English Local Authority areas will have the option to study the C&BE diploma.

The news comes as ConstructionSkills announced the number of employers pledging their support for the qualification has now reached 1,150.

The C&BE diploma is a qualification for 14 to 19-year-olds designed in collaboration with employers and universities. It can be taken alongside GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications.

Employers such as Wates, Balfour Beatty, Kier Group and Bovis Lend Lease are helping to deliver the diploma.

Education liason advisor at Wates, Chris Simpson, said: “We anticipate that working with the diploma in C&BE will ultimately provide us with well-rounded new recruits who have the right mix of general employment skills and broad sector knowledge.”

The diploma in C&BE launched six months ago, but the industry initially expressed disappointment after Building found in October just half of the original 3,000 students expected to sign up for the course had actually taken up their placement.