Youngsters in Sheffield and Rotherham are being offered a route into construction with the launch of a new qualification.
Guests from businesses and schools helped launch the qualification, which is designed to provide a direct route into the construction industry.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, was also at the event at Sheffield Town Hall to give the project his backing.
Created by student engagement business Class of Your Own, the qualification – Design...Engineer...Construct! –is fully accredited and is the equivalent of a GCSE.
It will offer learners the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge for the construction and built environment sector of industry.
The course will be piloted in six schools and centres – King Ecgbert in Dore, Parkwood Academy, Aston Academy, Sheffield Engineering Centre in Carbrook, the Construction Design Centre off Sheffield Parkway, and All Saints RC High on Granville Road.
Alison Watson, Class of Your Own managing director, said: “Historically, professions within the sector have not had any routes that encourage young people to explore them as careers.
“As a result, too few of our young people aspire to the wealth of opportunities in architecture, engineering and construction.
“Thanks to the support of industry leaders, professional bodies and universities, this course delivers an inspiring programme that is up to date and in demand by the people who will employ our children.”
Mr Clegg said: “Our economy is now on the road to recovery and it is clear the role of the construction industry will play a key part in making our economy stronger.”