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Taking steps to success; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.

ARRIVING on the doormat of every Year 11 pupil's home in the coming days is the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East's 'Steps to Success' publication - aimed at giving young people information on the learning options open to them on leaving school.

And included in Steps to Success are details on diplomas - a popular options choice that has more learners this year than the previous year (2008/09).

Recent research shows that there are more than 36,000 young people undertaking Diplomas across England. In the North East there are over 1600 young people undertaking diplomas at Levels 1, 2 and 3, in a range of subjects including Construction and Built Environment, Creative and Media, Engineering, Society, Health and Development and Business, Administration and Finance.

The most popular diploma line remains creative and media, with 9,850 learners nationally, followed by engineering and then society, health and development. In the region, most diplomas are being undertaken in the Newcastle area and Newcastle has the highest number of young people learning at Levels 1 and 3. Sunderland has the highest number of learners at Level 2 and the most popular diploma in the region is choice is creative and media.

Diplomas were introduced in September 2008 and are a new qualification that is available to young people aged 14-19, at school or college. There are currently up to 10 subjects to choose from and by 2011 there will be 17 subjects on offer. The diploma is different because the learner gains practical experience as well as classroom-based learning and experiences first hand the area of work they're interested in through practical training.

The diploma allows young people to keep their options open - on completion learners can go to college or sixth form college and continue their learning journey. On completion of an advanced diploma young people could go on to university or into a job with training.

Wallbottle Campus in Newcastle have 8 learners undertaking a diploma in Engineering at Level 3, with 3 learners from Year 12 and 5 learners from Year 13 and uniquely, some learning is being delivered by Newcastle University. It is an unusual yet successful approach to delivering learning and it's rare that a higher education institution is involved in teaching units of the diploma to post-16 learners.

This diploma involves each learner having a two week timetable with 18 hours of study time. Learners are also required to complete 10 days work experience over the two years of the diploma. The learning also involves studying for three functional skills examinations in maths, English and information communication technology. Three of the nine units are delivered at Newcastle University, making delivery of this diploma unique as most consortia have links with other schools and further education colleges Glen Whalley, assistant head teacher, from Walbottle Campus, Newcastle said: "This diploma is proving to be successful as learners really enjoy the subject. It gives them a real insight in to what an engineer does as the lessons are focussed towards applied learning. Young people hope to leave their learning and go on to study engineering of some sort."

Chris Roberts, regional director, LSC North East added: "Many young people are choosing the diploma route to learning as it combines theory with practical application, and gives the learner a taste of the world of work in their chosen subject area and choosing to learn via the diploma route and progressing through to Level 3 equips young people with the skills and knowledge for work or higher education."

For more information, please visit For more information on diplomas please visit: EducationAndLearning /QualificationsExplained/DG_070676


LEARNING Engineering students on a work placement
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2010
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