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About Specialised Diplomas

What are the aims of the Diploma?

What are the aims of the Diploma?

The purpose of the Specialised Diploma is to:

  • Provide a world-class learning experience for young people – through a blend of general education and applied learning, and within a coherent and motivating programme.
  • Nurture young people who upon entering employment have the essential skills and capabilities which employers needs.
  • Help the effective transition of young people, from schools or college to further education or higher education, and into adult and working life.

Why are diplomas being introduced?

The White Paper, “14-19 Education and Skills”, sets out the Government’s commitment to tackling historically low levels of participation in learning (75% at 17 as opposed to the OECD average of 85%) and to meet the requirements of a modern developed economy by raising the level of skills of young people coming into the workforce.

A significant number of young people take vocational qualifications every year, and uptake of the new applied GCSEs and A levels is increasing steadily. But all the research shows that these qualifications are undervalued and misunderstood by employers and higher education institutions in the same way as the more traditional GCSEs and A levels. Many vocational qualifications are important for access to employment in particular occupations, but most employers tend to feel that young people lack the broader grounding in the necessary skills.

Qualifications reform is at the heart of the Specialised Diploma programme; over time we will significantly change what many young people learn and the environment in which they learn.