Environmental and land-based studies diploma uptake exceeds expectations

Applications for the diploma in environmental and land-based studies have exceeded predictions, according to Lantra, despite reports that more than 550 state secondary schools have not signed up for the new diploma package.

Lantra diploma adviser Martin Callow said: "Interest in the diploma in environmental and land-based studies is extremely high. This is reflected in the number of applications from schools and colleges to deliver the qualification, which exceeded predictions by the Department of Children, Schools & Families (DCSF)."

He added: "Some 93 applications were received, evenly spread across the country, equating to approximately 7,000 learners. This presents a massive opportunity for horticultural employers to encourage young people to the sector."

In response to concerns that the landscaping industry was not yet aware of the diplomas and the need to provide work placements for 14-to 19-year-olds, Lantra national director Madge Moore said: "We have a marketing campaign ready to go out soon, including our Guide to Employers, in time for delivering the diploma in environmental and land-based studies in 2009."

The diploma is a qualification designed as an alternative to GCSEs and A Levels. It is being developed by six sector skills councils, including Lantra.

Local partnership of schools, colleges and employers place applications to join the scheme and will be informed in April if they are successful by the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

It is one of 17 diplomas under construction nationally and is being developed by six Sector Skills Councils, including Lantra.

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