NPTC Group of Colleges is leading the way as the first college in Wales to deliver a new A Level alternative designed to draw more young people into the construction industry.
The qualification is the UK’s first Level 3 Applied Diploma in Professional Construction Practice (PCP) and has been put together by construction firm ISG and exam board WJEC (formerly the Welsh Joint Education Committee). The College is the PCP diploma’s first partner to deliver the qualification in Wales.
The PCP qualification – endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) – is worth up to 56 UCAS points: the equivalent of an A Level. It was created to transform outdated perceptions of the industry and prepare young people for progression into Level 4 built environment qualifications and beyond.
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, launched on September 11th, aims 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
“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.”
The College will be working closely with ISG over the course of the 2018 academic year in preparation to deliver the PCP qualification to its first wave of students in the September 2019 intake.
Mark Dacey, CEO and Principal of NPTC Group of Colleges said: “The construction industry is changing and this qualification will provide students with the skills needed for the 21st century. The innovative PCP diploma will be key in developing the use of digital technologies within the industry. We are delighted and excited to be part of something that will bring around this much-needed change within the sector.”
ISG has committed to placing real construction professionals in the classroom to help deliver the course and is working to upskill tutors and bring real-life projects to learners, using the very latest technologies to see beyond the traditional site visit experience.
Allan Perry, subjects office, WJEC added: “The genuinely exciting prospect about the PCP qualification is that we have a fully formed and Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) endorsed course that is ready to make a real difference now.
“ISG has always been clear from day one that it sees PCP as an industry initiative, and the hope is that as the qualification’s popularity grows, the wider industry throws its considerable weight behind the diploma to support the change that our sector so desperately needs.”
Rosalind Thorpe, the CIOB’s head of education, 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.”