Wigan Council unveils new vocational diploma qualification scheme - MIDAS

Wigan Council unveils new vocational diploma qualification scheme

20 March, 2008 – Wigan Council unveils new vocational diploma qualification scheme

Hundreds of Wigan teenagers will soon be able to study for new diplomas that have been hailed as 'the future qualification of choice' in England's schools and colleges.

Wigan Council learned today that it has been given the go ahead to teach seven of the new diplomas, which are being introduced by the government following a major review of education for 14 to 19 year olds.

From next year, five subjects will be on offer  hospitality and catering, creative and media, hair and beauty, IT, and land-based and the environment. In 2010, construction along with society, health and development will be added to the list of diplomas.

They will be pilot schemes and not available in every school until 2013, when all young people over 14 will have the right to study for them.

Nick Hudson, the council’s director of children and young people’s services, said: "An enormous amount of work has been done by all stakeholders across the authority to prepare these bids.

"It is something that all involved can be very proud of and now we can look forward to putting them into practice for the benefit of young people across the borough."

The new diplomas – not to be confused with other diplomas that already exist – are being seen as the government’s answer to an inquiry it commissioned into 14 to 19 education.

Led by England’s former chief schools inspector Sir Mike Tomlinson, the inquiry sought to address employers’ complaints that schools were producing youngsters who were well qualified but who lacked workplace skills.

Cllr Brian Wilson, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: "These new diplomas should mean more of our young people staying on in education or training after the age of 16, and I warmly welcome the news that we have been given the go ahead by the government to pilot them."

The intention is that the new diplomas will appeal to academically-minded youngsters just as much as doing A-levels, for instance – but with a workplace slant. They should combine practical skills and theoretical learning and are being described as ‘employment-related learning’ not job-related training.

The way the various levels of Diploma are graded will match existing GCSEs and A-levels:

  • Foundation – takes broadly the same time to do as four or five GCSEs, worth five grades D-G in GCSE terms
  • Higher – takes broadly the same time to do as five or six GCSEs, worth seven grades A*-C
  • Advanced – takes broadly the same time to do as three A-levels, worth 3.5 A-levels
  • Progression – takes broadly the same time as two A-levels and is aimed at those who cannot complete a whole Advanced Diploma.

Source: Wigan Council press release

Link: http://www.wigan.gov.uk

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