A NEW qualification, which Furness students will be among the first in the country to take, has been given a boost from top universities.
Universities have said they will consider applications from young people studying the Diploma, which will be delivered in Barrow from September.
Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria were two of the 235 of 306 Higher Education Institutions which said they will consider applicants who have achieved an Advanced Diploma, worth 3.5 A-Levels, or an Extended Advanced Diploma, worth 4.5 A-Levels.
The list also includes Oxford, Leeds, Bristol and Warwick.
The government said most HEIs which have not publicly stated they will consider Diploma students are smaller institutions offering less than 50 courses.
Furness is one of only 10 areas in the country to offer all five of the first Diploma subjects.
The subjects are; information technology; society, health and development; engineering; creative and media; and construction and the built environment.
The new qualification for 14 to 19-year-olds combines learning in the classroom with practical experience.
Nationally Diplomas have faced criticism over fears that courses were not ready to be run, teachers had not been adequately trained, and were not ready to teach certain features.
The government said this was “an absurd misrepresentation of the truth”.
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said: “I’m pleased so many universities have now come out in support of the Diploma, including some of our most famous institutions.
“They recognise candidates will have not only the practical skills they need for the world of work but the knowledge and theoretical rigour to study at degree level and beyond.”
Jim Knight, Minister for Schools and Learners, said: “This is great news for young people in Barrow. They deserve to have a genuine choice about where their qualifications take them. That’s what our reforms to the education system for 14 to 19-year-olds are all about.”