20 October 2017

Construction and the built environment diploma

By Rochelle Whitty, education editor | 23 December 2008

The Construction and the Built Environment (C&BE) diploma was introduced for the new school year in September 2008 as one of five diplomas offered for 14–19 education in selected areas of England.

Photo of three male students and one adult building a decking

Students from Oak Grove College constructing a decking © Jennie Rollings, Oak Grove College

The diploma combines classroom learning with practical experience, and is taught through compulsory subjects and on-site work experience. It provides students with a chance to learn in a real work environment, with industry experts, and to get a taste of their future career.

What does the C&BE diploma entail?
At each of the three levels on offer within the C&BE diploma, students focus on three themes:

  • Design the built environment – students learn how the built environment is designed and constructed, how it affects people and communities, and how history, politics and economics affect it.
  • Create the built environment – students develop the skills and knowledge needed in different industries – for example, using tools and understanding modern construction methods and materials.
  • Value and use the built environment – students learn to analyse the need for good management and continuous maintenance, and to understand the importance of good design, workmanship and teamwork.

Features of the C&BE diploma

  • extended periods of learning time
  • split into four areas of learning principal learning, generic learning (functional skills, and learning and thinking skills) and additional and specialist learning
  • 10 days’ work experience (this could include part-time paid work for older learners)
  • a skills-based project at each of the three levels.

What support is there?
There is support available for teachers who are delivering the C&BE diploma. A good website to begin with is the C&BE diploma website. The section on ‘support to deliver the C&BE diploma’ includes a detailed document on teaching resources, available as a free downloadable pdf. There is also a nine-page document with suggested learning activities and guidance on how to approach each level of the diploma.

Your local architecture and built environment centre may also be able to provide you with guidance and support in setting up and teaching the C&BE diploma. See the list of architecture centres or search on the Engaging Places website for ‘architecture centre’.

See the links at the end of the article for more guidance materials and support information.

Photo of a young male sawing a plank of wood

An Oak Grove College student at work © Jennie Rollings, Oak Grove College

When can our school offer the C&BE diploma?
Access to diplomas is being rolled out across the country, but by 2013 all students will have the right to study a diploma course wherever they live. If your school is interested in offering the diploma, visit the teachernet website for the roll-out schedule.

Further information on the diploma
The following sites and organisations offer more information on the C&BE diploma.


CBE Diploma


Directgov Diploma site

Bconstructive – a site about construction careers for students, developed by ConstructionSkills

Guidance on teaching the C&BE diploma

Are you teaching the C&BE diploma at your school?
If so, we’d like to hear from you – what is working well, what isn’t working so well? Do you have tips you could share on great resources and industry links for other teachers? Contact editor@engagingplaces.org.uk to share your experience.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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