The UK’s first level 3 applied diploma in professional construction practice (PCP) has been put together by construction firm ISG and exam board WJEC (formerly the Welsh Joint Education Committee).
The PCP qualification is worth up to 56 UCAS points – the equivalent of an A-Level – and is endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
Teaching modules include an introduction to building information modelling (BIM), the use of drones, laser scanning technology, and artificial intelligence and virtual reality in the built environment. The technological focus of the course is designed to maximise the appeal of construction.
The diploma is launched today, 11th September 2018, “to help to change the conversation around construction for educators, parents and pupils”, ISG said – providing an earlier gateway into the profession for a large number of students who might never have considered a career in the built environment.
ISG chief executive Paul Cossell said: “The problem we have as an industry is that a third of our workforce is now over 50 years old and we are not doing enough to educate and expose young people to the amazing opportunities that exist in this vitally important industry that delivers the infrastructure, hospitals, schools and homes that support our very existence.
“The PCP qualification is our response to engaging the brightest and most talented young people at an earlier age, with a Level 3 qualification that can sit alongside and complement existing STEM [science, technology engineering & maths] subjects. Students are given the confidence to explore contemporary construction practice and earn transferable UCAS points, which is an essential element as this unlocks the barriers that some may feel towards specialisation at an early age. This is the real game-changer – a qualification that accurately reflects our industry, but doesn’t negatively penalise those who are interested but ultimately find that it is not for them in the long term.”
Neath Port Talbot College (NPTC) group of colleges is the PCP diploma’s first partner and sponsor, and over the current academic year will be working with ISG in preparation to deliver the PCP qualification to its first cohort of students in the September 2019 intake.
ISG has committed to placing construction professionals in the classroom to help deliver the course, and is training tutors to bring real life projects to learners.
CIOB head of education Rosalind Thorpe said: “This qualification will help attract much needed new talent into the industry, which is currently experiencing skills gaps. The CIOB believes that attracting school leavers into construction will be key to increasing the use of digital technologies and innovations in the industry and improving productivity.”