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86 per cent of 14 – 18 year-olds polled at a Schools Science Conference would like to know more about the new Diploma in Society, Health and Development (Diploma in SHD).

Over 400 young people attended ‘Science in Health and Life’ – the 5th Annual Schools Science Conference, held at Kensington Town Hall on Wednesday, 12th March 2008 - and a quarter of them participated in a series of focus groups about the Diploma in SHD. When asked if the Diploma was something they would like to know more about, 86 per cent said “yes”.

During the group sessions, experts from Skills for Health - the sector skills council for the healthcare sector - gave young people the facts about the Diploma in SHD, which is due to become available from September 2008.

Sharon Ensor, Programme Manager for the Diploma in Society, Health and Development at Skills for Health said:

“Government is keen to encourage young people to stay in education or training until they are at least 18. The Diploma in SHD represents a way of achieving this and, as our poll demonstrates, it’s a route that can inspire young people once they begin to appreciate what it involves.

“For instance; young people were interested to discover that by studying for the Diploma in SHD they will have the opportunity to find out more about the myriad of roles available in the healthcare sector – allowing them to make properly informed decisions as to whether a career in health might be right for them”.

Employers are enthusiastic about the Diploma in SHD too.

Don Henderson, Consultant Clinical Scientist, and Conference Chair said:

“I think the Diploma in SHD is an exciting development. It's going to give students some of the skills that employers need. Things like looking for innovation and developments; looking for improvements in healthcare and how it is delivered; and also knowing how to manage change - because in the health service we're always changing. Students of the Diploma in SHD will go to university, or into the workplace, already well equipped with these important skills”.

Young people attending the event were interested in the variety of healthcare qualifications available and the different routes into the sector.

Some of their comments are recorded here:

“I'm studying all three sciences and I would really like to do it as a career as well, so this event has given me the perfect opportunity to find out what areas of health I can go into, the qualifications required, the different degrees or diplomas, and the people available to provide advice too.”

“I've been really inspired today by the scientists who went to Mount Everest to conduct health research. I would definitely now like to find out more about careers in health and medicine and to start looking into the qualifications available to me.”

“If you’re not sure about studying science and which direction to go in then you should come to something like this focus group because it's really interesting and helps to show the kinds of courses that you can study to go into health. Normally, people view science, health, and education in those areas as being quite boring, but it's totally the opposite - it's totally fascinating”.

For further information about the Diploma in Society, Health and Development visit To view details of the 2008 Schools Science Conference and experience the ‘Virtual Lab’ visit


About the Diploma in Society, Health and Development (Diploma in SHD) –

The Diploma in SHD is an exciting and innovative new qualification for 14 – 19 year-olds in England. It involves a unique mix of general education, essential skills, hands-on experience and employer-based learning that prepares young people for work or further study.

Diplomas are new employer-designed qualifications offered at three levels in 14 broad employment sectors. They represent the most important change to the country’s education system for more than a century and have been developed with support and input from employers, employer bodies, unions, further and higher education, training providers and awarding bodies. Completing a Diploma allows young people to progress to further study, university or employment.

During the design of the Diploma in Society, Health and Development these stakeholders - together with four Sector Skills Councils from the employer-led Skills for Business network - have collaborated extensively as part of the Diploma in SHD’s ‘Diploma Development Partnership’ (DDP). These SSCs involved are:

SkillsActive (representing the wider children’s workforce) Skills for Care (representing adult social care) Skills for Health (representing the health sector) Skills for Justice (representing community justice)

Skills for Health is the lead SSC in the design of the Diploma in SHD and has taken responsibility for setting up and chairing the DDP to produce the Diploma’s final ‘statement of content’.

The Diploma in Society, Health and Development will be available in selected schools and colleges in England with effect from September 2008 (for details see the ‘Gateway’ section of the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ website at

For further information about the Society, Health and Development Diploma visit or email

Issued on behalf of Skills for Health by Louise Jaggs, TextonTap.
Tel: +44 (0)1242 257770
Mob: +44 (0)7712 011246

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of On Tap Communications in the following categories: Health, Education & Human Resources, Medical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit