In 2005, the UK government announced the development of a suite of employer-designed diplomas for 14-19 year olds linked to different industrial and commercial sectors. This article will reflect on some of the achievements and challenges of this major employer engagement initiative by drawing on three pieces of research: a review of Diploma development and two employer consultation studies belonging to the latest phase of Diploma development - the Diplomas in Humanities and Social Sciences and Languages and International Communications. The article suggests that meeting the needs of employers in qualification design is problematic as employers are a heterogeneous group bringing a range of different views, ideas and contributions to the process. Furthermore, the article points to a possible mismatch between policymakers' expectations from employers at the macro level, and what in fact happens at the local, micro level owing to personal and economic circumstances, companies' demands and the economic climate
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