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About Specialised Diplomas

What is a Specialised Diploma?

A Specialised Diploma is a new qualification aiming to provide young people with the skills and knowledge they need to progress into employment, training or further and higher education.

Aimed at 14 to 19 year olds, they will be available at levels 1, 2 and 3 in subjects covering broad economic areas. Schools and colleges will begin teaching the Construction and the Built Environment Diploma course from September 2008.

Specialised Diplomas will provide a broad programme of applied and other learning, underpinned by essential skills. Employers can be confident that a young person with a Diploma has mastered essential skills in English, Maths and ICT and other sector-related subjects. Diplomas will also provide young people with opportunities to experience different styles of learning, learn in different settings, and make informed choices about the kind of work they wish to do. Employers will also know that a young person who has achieved a Diploma can apply their skills in work situations, and has an attitude which will give them success at work. Any young person wishing to progress into Higher Education institutions can be confident that achieving a level 3 Diploma will be ideal preparation for undertaking a degree course.

What does the Diploma consist of?

The Diploma has three components:

  • Principal learning – developing the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to a sector or sectors using realistic contexts and materials wherever possible.
  • Additional/specialist learning – allowing learners to specialise further or to select units that will complement their programme.
  • Generic learning – providing the learner with the essential skills including maths, English and ICT, which will prepare them for successful employment, training and further study.