From education to employment

New Leading Partnership to Build Specialised Diplomas for 14 – 19 year olds

In an announcement recently it was revealed that the UK’s biggest provider of general qualifications and the UK’s leading vocational awarding body are building Specialised Diplomas for 14 ““ 19 year olds together.

The union is between the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) and the City and Guilds. The new qualifications will aim to combine the development of practical skills with both theoretical and technical understanding and further knowledge. The diplomas will be available in a range of areas, from Construction to Hair and Beauty, from Business to Travel and Tourism.

The Two Bodies

The AQA is the largest of the three Unitary Awarding Bodies in the UK offering GCSE, Applied GCSE, GCE, Applied GCE and Entry Level qualifications. They are an educational charity formed in April 2000 through the merger of the Associated Examining Board (AEB) and the Northern Examinations and Assessment Board (NEAB). Amongst the services it provides are a general support and guidance network for teachers to assist their smooth and competent delivery of the curriculum. They also offer assistance in career and professional development for teachers, and process more than four million subject entries each year.

As the leading provider of vocational qualifications in Britain, the City and Guilds offers qualifications that assess skills of supposed practical value in the work place. There are almost two million registrations with the City and guilds each year, as more and more people take part in qualifications recognised for their quality and the value placed on them by employers. City and Guilds works with over 8,500 training providers, employers and FE colleges worldwide and awards some 1.3 million certificates each year.


The Diplomas will be offered at three levels and in fourteen sector areas. The first five diplomas will be available for teaching from September 2008. These will be in the fields of construction, creative and media studies, engineering, health and social care, and the subject increasingly vital for all sectors, ICT.

The Director general of the two organisations were pleased at the announcement. The AQA’s Mike Cresswell said: “I am delighted to join forces with City & Guilds and believe our combined expertise and support networks for schools and colleges will ensure the success of the new diplomas.” Chris Humphries from the City and Guilds said: “Our focus will be on ensuring a rewarding learning experience for the young people with the chance to gain a qualification that is both valued both by employers and higher education.”

Jethro Marsh

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