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7,286 to take construction and engineering diplomas in September

NCE has obtained figures for the diplomas in construction and engineering, which begin in Spetember. 3,054 will take the diploma in construction, while a further 4232 will take the diploma in engineering.

While this means that the construction diploma has attracted 75% of the average allocation. CECA Director of Training Joe Johnson said the figures were good for the industry.

"This means that industry must provide some 30,540 work experience days on-site. But not all consortia offer the same number of days, so we now have find out how many numbers are committed to each consortia so we can make sure the capacity is there."

"I think the numbers will allow the industry to ease into the diploma. With 3,000 students we will not be over-stretched. We can plan for the future. We did not want the diplomas to be poorly-managed. This number will allow us to keep the quality high.

Johnson said that from yesterday morning's figures, where schools minister Ed Balls announced a total of 20,000 places confirmed for all 5 diplomas, CECA expected as little as 2,000 to have committed themselves to the construction diploma.

"There are still challenges ahead," said Johnson, "but we want to work with industry to tackle them," he said.

Education minister Ed Balls said yesterday that the roll-out of the diploma was not a "big bang" launch, and that, "It's vital that we get this right and put quality first."

"This year about a quarter of schools and a half of colleges offered the Diploma and next year this will rise to nearly three quarters of secondary schools and almost nine out of ten of colleges offering the Diploma in September 2009," he said.

Diplomas will by for 14-18 year-olds and will begin in September in five subject areas:

Information Technology
Health and Development
Creative and Media

Last year, a figure of 160,000 students taking the diploma in the first year was mooted by the director of 14-19 education reform, Jon Coles. Schools minister Jim Knight had told MPs that a 'ballpark' figure of 50,000 was expected.

This figure was whittled-down to just 40,000 in unofficial communications. Yesterday's figure confims that only half the most pessimistic number have committed to the new diplomas.

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