Industry bodies have attacked the government over its launch of the construction diploma, saying employers have been left with little confidence in it, writes Sarah Richardson.

The qualification, which will be launched in September, is part of a wider scheme to introduce industrial diplomas as an alternative to A levels.

Some 40,000 students were expected to opt for the diplomas in the autumn, but schools minister Jim Knight this week revealed that the total was thought to be closer to 30,000, of whom 4,000 will be on the construction course.

The Construction Confederation and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) accused the government of failing to prepare employers for the launch. They said employers were expected to provide work experience, but many still did not have detailed information about what would be in the diploma courses or a clear understanding of the role of the qualification.

Employer engagement in the diplomas has, at best, been limited.

Joe Johnson, CECA

Joe Johnson, CECA’s director of training, said: “The government has failed to make it clear what the status of the diplomas will be or how they can get involved with delivering them in their areas. Employer engagement has, at best, been limited.”

Johnson, who also acts as a training adviser to the Construction Confederation, said contractors were concerned that the government had changed the requirement for work experience to “experience of work”, which could means that some students who take the course will not set foot on a construction site.