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We expect a lot from young people who are starting work. Employers want them to be prepared to operate in fast changing environments and be ready to tackle often complex challenges.

On a practical level we want young people to have a good command of English, Maths and ICT. On a personal level, we need them to have a whole range of attributes to ensure that they are effective employees, good work colleagues and valuable ambassadors for their organisation.

We also want them to be able to work with others, demonstrate enthusiasm, think for themselves and have the skills they need to continue learning and keep up with our rapidly changing world.

This is a long list of things to require of young people who are beginning their careers and the schools, colleges and universities that help prepare them for working life.

It's important for us to recognise that we also share some of the responsibility for ensuring that young people leave education and training equipped to work in today's workplace.

The development of the 14-19 Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences has provided many employers, like us, with the opportunity to influence this new and significant qualification.

This partnership between business and education has been critical to its development and sends a strong message about its readiness to prepare young people for working life.

As one of the employers involved in developing the Diploma, it has been an opportunity to help shape a qualification, ensuring it equips young people with more of the skills that we and other employers expect and require. The Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences will available for teaching from September 2011.

The Diploma will prepare young people for a wide range of careers and higher education options. It will particularly interest young people who aspire to enter professions such as law, journalism, advertising, heritage management, HR, public policy and the public, charity and voluntary sectors.

People who've completed this Diploma will be activists, drivers of change, explainers, listeners and advocates. They will have enquiring minds and a hunger for research - exploring options, and debating possibilities.

People who hold the Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences will have the transferable skills they need and the potential to become tomorrow's leaders and managers in a whole range of sectors.

At CSV, we recruit a broad range of young people and always look for candidates with a sense of the practicalities of the workplace, good communication skills and the ability to solve problems.

Young people who complete the Diploma will have done at least ten days work-based learning. Applied learning will also be woven into their course. This could include talks or workshops run by employers, case studies based on real life situations, or shadowing opportunities.

All this will help them develop a real understanding of working life and the wider world, equipping them with more of the skills that employers like us need to have.

Crucially for CSV, the Diploma is also flexible enough to enable young people to do a period of volunteering as part of their learning package.

This will give them the opportunity to apply their skills in real life environments. It will help them develop the level of empathy and human understanding that is so important to organisations such as ours.

When we recruit young people, there's often a period of adjustment. We need all our employees, whether working on the front line or not, to have deep understanding of our different client groups.

Choosing the right workplace or volunteering opportunity will help put young people who've completed the Diploma in Humanities and Social Science one step ahead of other candidates in this respect.

As we get closer to the introduction of the Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences there are two ways colleges can get involved.

First, by considering inclusion of the Diploma in their curriculum offer to learners. In November 2010, colleges will be able to bid to run the Diploma. Any that are interested should start doing their research now to see if it is a qualification that they'd like to offer in the future.

Secondly, by getting involved as employers. We're looking for people to host work experience places, run workshops and provide Diploma students with the taste of working life that is so crucial to its delivery. Colleges are major employers and provide the sort of job opportunities that are likely to interest Diploma students in the future.

The Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences is the kind of qualification that many employers have been demanding for years. It's time for both employers and education providers to get behind the Diploma. Its introduction in 2011 will be good for us, good for young people, good for society and good for the economy.

Peter Hayes is director of CSV Education, the UK's leading volunteering and training charity

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