The building contractor is working with the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) to offer the Level 3 Applied Diploma in Professional Construction Practice. It is described as the first course of its kind in Wales and allows students to gain an understanding of contemporary construction practice, before heading to university to continue their studies.
The course is worth up to 56 transferable UCAS points, which is the equivalent of an A-level. It is split into four modules: Designing the Built Environment, Creating the Built Environment, Value, and the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM).
It is designed to be delivered over one or two years, and is likely to be studied by 16-19 year olds in schools or colleges alongside GCE A-Levels, as part of a programme of study with other Level 3 vocational qualifications or the Welsh Baccalaureate.
Several universities have recognised the qualification for degree entry including the University of Salford and Wrexham Glyndwr University.
ISG operations manager Howard Davies said: “As a company, we have been actively engaged in construction education in Wales for many years, thanks to our work with Pontypridd High School, where we developed a suite of educational materials. These included information videos for students studying the WJEC Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in Construction – with the ISG ‘construction channel’ proving a highly effective learning resource for students, teachers and parents and approaching 100,000 individual views since launch.
“Engaging with the WJEC, we noted that there was a distinct knowledge gap between this level of learning and what was expected at further education institutions, and saw an opportunity to create a new Level 3 qualification, in partnership with the WJEC, that would bridge this gap and better prepare students for university.”
Mark Dacey of Neath Port Talbot Group of Colleges (NPTC) said: “This qualification is timely as the Welsh government looks at innovations in the Construction and Built environment sectors.”
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is also in support. Rosalind Thorpe, head of education, said: “The CIOB is delighted to support the new Diploma in Professional Construction Practice. 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.”