A new Society, Health and Development diploma aims to help young people aged 14-19 realise their potential and gain knowledge and skills.

The diploma can be taken alongside GSCEs, A-levels and vocational subjects and combines theoretical study with practical learning - aiming to equip students with skills they can apply to the next stage of their development.

It is designed to bring together health, adult social care, community justice and children's and young people's services in one qualification. Key themes include: examining how different organisations work together, exploring patterns of offending behaviour, and assessing the differences that lifestyle choices can make to an individual's health and well-being.

Core skills

To encourage independent thinking, the diploma will focus on project work, while retaining a strong emphasis on core skills in English, maths and information technology. It also offers students the chance to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in the classroom in a work-relevant environment and through work-experience placements.

Wolverhampton primary care trust was one of the employers involved in designing the diploma. Director of workforce Stephanie Harris says: 'The SHD diploma offers a number of opportunities for Wolverhampton PCT: it enables us to showcase the vast array of jobs available across health and social care; it allows young people to make properly informed choices about whether they want to pursue a career in the sector, it opens up potential recruitment opportunities, and it dovetails with our strategic responsibility for the health and well-being of the local population.'

Development of the diploma is being headed up by Skills for Health. Diploma expert Sharon Ensor added: 'The way healthcare sector employers have involved themselves in this new qualification has been fantastic - from the curriculum design through to long-term planning for sustainable partnerships locally.

'They have helped bring the diploma to life, creating relevant and engaging content that gives students the in-depth knowledge, practical skills and real-life experience both employers and universities need.'

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