More than 3,000 children set to study for newly launched construction and built environment diploma this year

Pupils starting school this week have the opportunity to learn about construction and housing for the first time with the launch of the construction and built environment diploma.

The diploma, part of a new range of qualifications designed to ensure that all children can stay in learning until they are 17, includes topics on the management of built assets as well as lessons on housing tenure and community management. It also addresses issues of design and sustainability of construction.

The department for children schools and families said that 3,054 children had signed up the new diploma. In total five new vocational qualifications have been launched, which can be taken to both GCSE and A-Level equivalent standard.

Sarah Webb, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, which helped develop the diploma, said: "Perhaps if the built environment diploma had been in place 20 years ago we wouldn't now be seeing soaring repossession levels.

We don't teach our kids about one of the most fundamental life-skills - housing - and then we expect them to make rational decisions as adults. That's one of the reasons I'm so proud that CIH is part of the government's new diplomas."