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Schools snap up engineering courses

TAKE UP of the new GCSE in engineering introduced to schools this September has been nearly three times greater than expected, it was announced last week.

Over 150 schools are offering the new vocational GCSE, said engineering training body EMTA at the official launch of teachers' support material for the new qualification.

'Our aim is for the engineering GCSE to be on offer at 400 schools by 2005, ' said EMTA project leader for standards and qualifications Paul Turnbull.

Turnbull said a big attraction of the qualification was that it is a 'double award' and counts as two GCSEs for pupils successfully completing the course.

The exam's focus is on mechanical and process skills, although there is a general introduction to the various forms of engineering including civils early in the course. Assignments can include designing new trains for the London Underground or building your own camshaft.

'We have the chance to be the first generation to make vocational training work in this country, ' said education minister Ivan Lewis.

'I want employers of the future to communicate with the education sector. I need you to go into schools and offer teachers time away in the world of business.'

Consultation has just finished for the introduction of an AS level to the vocational A level in construction and the built environment according to the Qualification Curriculum Authority

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