The new manufacturing diploma came a step closer to reality today with the announcement of the first areas to be approved for its delivery.
A pioneering new qualification aimed at encouraging youngsters to pursue a career in manufacturing is to be offered to school-children in every area of England following its launch in September 2009.
Twenty-seven consortia – groups of schools, colleges and employers – have been given the go-ahead to be the first to deliver the new Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design, with at least one successful consortium in each English region. In total, almost 2,000 places will be available for young people to study the diploma in its first year.
The Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design is one of 17 new diplomas for 14 to 19-year-olds which will be available to all pupils in England by 2013. It is intended to give pupils a solid understanding of how the manufacturing sector works and equip them with the skills they will need to pursue a career in the industry. Now, manufacturing companies are being urged to join forces with their local consortia in order to ensure the diploma’s success.
Derek Jones, head of the project team charged with developing the manufacturing diploma, said: “This is a once-in-lifetime opportunity for companies to get young people excited about the manufacturing industry, to pass on the key skills they need in the work place, and to directly inspire them in their future career choices.
“The input of local businesses, especially SMEs, will be absolutely vital in bringing the diploma to life. There are plenty of different ways to engage with the diploma, from offering work placements, to devising projects and giving talks to pupils. Employers are also needed to work with teachers and lecturers, and help to keep them up-to-date with industry practices.”
Mr Jones continued: “We believe the manufacturing diploma will have a lot of appeal for teachers and pupils, and will become a popular choice amongst students. There is room to specialise in creative areas such as marketing and design, and it will help bring science and maths to life in the classroom. Instead of just learning theory from a textbook, pupils will be able to study how, for example, oil gets used to make plastics and other materials, how medicines and pharmaceuticals are made, what goes into our food and how it impacts on health, and how to programme a computer to control engineering processes.
“Ultimately, the diploma will provide a solid foundation for further training of Higher Education, and will equip young people with relevant skills and know-how, as well as realistic expectations of the world of work.”
As part of the diploma, pupils will be taught core topics of business and enterprise, product design, materials science and process technologies, alongside courses in maths, English and ICT. An extensive range of optional modules in specialised subjects will also be available to provide a deeper knowledge of the different manufacturing sub-sectors.
Pupils taking the diploma will spend the majority of their time in school but will take some classes at college for more specialist areas of study. The diploma is available at three levels – foundation, which is equivalent to five GCSEs; higher, equivalent to seven GCSEs; and advanced, equivalent to three-and-a-half A-Levels. From 2011, there will be the option to undertake an extended diploma at each level, which will offer additional academic modules.
The Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design is being rolled out as part of the second tranche of diplomas, following the first five which are due to be introduced in September this year, which includes the Diploma in Engineering. Further consortia of schools, colleges and employers across England will be invited to deliver the manufacturing diploma from 2010 and beyond, broadening its reach across the country.
The diploma has been developed by the five sector skills councils representing manufacturing employers in the UK – Improve, Proskills, Cogent, Semta, and Skillfast-UK. Consultation with companies has played a key part in determining the diploma’s structure and content.
For more information, visit the website for the Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design, at http://www.manufacturingdiploma.co.uk/.
The names of the successful consortia are: Norwich City (OpenOpportunity), Nottingham City, Grantham Partnership, Sleaford, Islington 14-19 Partnership, 14-19 Newham Partnership, South Tyneside 14 – 19 Consortium, Sunderland 14-19 Partnership, Bolton LA Consortia, East Cheshire 14-19 Diploma Consortium, West Cumbria 14-19 Partnership, Trafford 14-19 Consortium, Eastbourne and Hailsham Federation, East Oxon 14-19 Consortium, Spelthorne, City of Plymouth 14-19 Diploma Partnership, South Restormel 14-19 Consortium, Chesil Education Partnership, Kingswood Partnership, Tamworth Partnership, Stoke-on-Trent 14-19 Collegiate, Wolverhampton, Barnsley Diploma Consortia, Bradford Confederations, City of York Partnership, 14-19 Learning Partnership, and the Sheffield 14-19 Partnership.