Manchester is the UK's second media city. With 4,000 businesses and 18,000 staff, it has the biggest concentration of people employed in media and other creative industries outside London.
The BBC plans to relocate some of its major departments to a purpose-built site in Salford by 2011. The site, MediaCity:UK, will also house independent media companies and will create up to 10,000 jobs and net pound;170 million for the regional economy.
Schools and colleges in the city are already preparing for this. City College Manchester and Manchester College of Arts and Technology (Mancat) are partners in a centre of vocational excellence in creative industries and media. Both are working with schools and the industry to run the new diploma in the creative industries and media.
City College currently offers a range of media-related courses, including graphic design, multi-media, interactive media and production, from first diploma level 2 to a foundation degree.
In collaboration with Mancat, it offers facilities and expertise across the city and they work closely with the industry.
City College has its own room at the BBC's headquarters, called Media Space, which is used for its television and broadcast media foundation degree. It plans to open this up to schools and to run workshops and "taster" days for key stage 4 pupils.
It has also been collaborating on delivering diploma units. "We are piloting a way of working with schools which we think would take us easily and comfortably into the new diplomas," said Mary Blauciak, the college's curriculum leader of design and visual arts.
Manchester, where about 3,000 students are expected to take the diplomas from 2008, is well prepared for the advent of the qualifications. The city council is linking their development to its plans for six new city academies. It is the first local authority to underwrite an academy.
The new schools, which are expected to open in 2009, will play a vital part in vocational education. One proposed academy - in partnership with the BBC and ITV Granada - would specialise in creative and media industries.
The city council has appointed Jacki deLuce to a new post to co-ordinate preparations for the diploma across the city. She said: "It shows how seriously we consider specialised diplomas to be in terms of helping young people's learning.
"We feel it's very pertinent to the 14-19 agenda and also to economic developments within the city itself. Indeed, four of the first five diploma lines are identified as growth areas within our economy."
Delivery of the 14-19 agenda in the city is split into three geographical areas with collegiates of schools, colleges, work-based learning providers, employers and higher education. Each collegiate has a task group which meets regularly to plan for the start of the diplomas, including timetabling, transport arrangements and quality assurance.
There are also working groups within each diploma line, which will work on subject specific issues, curriculum development, logistics and practicalities of teaching.
The city has been involved in trials of the student registration service and unique learner number, which will allow for the sharing of data on student participation and achievement.
An online network is supporting communication and curriculum development across the city. In addition, schools and colleges will use a common online learning environment to share lessons.
Partnerships are also working with Manchester Metropolitan University's Institute of Education on teacher training and continuing professional development. Experts from the industry will be recruited to run classes in specialised components.
The city is also shaking up careers advice and guidance. Information with reference to the new diploma lines and progression routes will be available, particularly in Years 9 and 11.
The city is building on a solid foundation of partnerships, said Ms deLuce.
"In Manchester, the majority have realised that something has to change in the education system to meet the needs of young people. Support from every single school has been evident, as it has from colleges and work-based learning providers."