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Home > News > December 2006 > 04 December 2006

Employers urged to help design new diploma

Manufacturers are being urged to help boost the skills of their future employees by getting involved in the design of a new academic qualification for teenagers.

Two consultation events to be held in Leeds and London in early 2007 will give employers a final opportunity to have their say on the design of the new Specialised Diploma in Manufacturing.

Available for teaching from 2009, the diploma is being developed by the five manufacturing Sector Skills Councils led by Improve, the Sector Skills Council for food and drink manufacturing.

Improve says the diploma will see students aged between 14 and 19 taught through a combination of practical work and technical theory at three different levels, the highest delivering a qualification equivalent to two A-Levels.

Jack Matthews, chief executive of Improve, said: "The manufacturing diploma is part of a set of new qualifications that promise to transform secondary education.

"Employers will start to reap the benefits almost immediately after it goes live, having access to a pool of employable recruits with a broad knowledge of the skills needed to work in manufacturing.

"The diploma will change the face of the next generation of the manufacturing workforce, providing employees with relevant skills and knowledge to help boost productivity and profitability. However, in order to make sure that the skills it delivers are applicable to the working environment, we need employers' input and support at this stage of the diploma's development.

"Companies such as Jaguar, GlaxoSmithKline and Cadbury Trebor Basset have already provided input, and I would urge any employer who hasn't yet been involved to grab this final opportunity to have their say."

The four Sector Skill Councils that are partnering Improve are: SEMTA, which covers the science and engineering sector,

Cogent, which covers the chemical, nuclear and gas industries, Proskills, which represents process and general manufacturing industries, and Skillfast-UK, which covers the clothing, footwear and textiles sector.

The full-day consultations will be held at:

  • The Parkinson Building, Leeds University, on Tuesday 30 January 2007
  • Woburn House in Tavistock Square, London, on Thursday 8 February.

To book a place at either event, email

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