Teenagers who have Saturday jobs would get credit for their skills under a new qualification that will replace GCSE and A-level.
Part-time work was the main experience of the workplace for many young people, yet it was ignored by the existing system, said Mike Tomlinson, who chairs the Government's working group on 14-19 reform.
Some teenagers on work experience were already appraised by employers and Mr Tomlinson is looking at how all pupils can get credit for it.
He was asked by ministers to draw up plans for reforming education for 14 to 19-year-olds following last year's A-level crisis. His first proposals for a diploma have been published but a fuller version will be out in January with the final one due next July.
Speaking at the Association of Colleges annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Tomlinson revealed that about two-thirds of responses to the consultation on the draft proposals were in favour of the diploma.
Many who opposed it were worried it would contain a large proportion of compulsory elements, like the International Baccalaureate.
Mr Tomlinson insisted that he did not want his diploma to be too "prescriptive".
The idea was to ensure students got credit for studies that were both broad and deep, academic andor vocational, and for extra-curricular activities such as sport, music and voluntary work. He emphasised that he was not saying pupils should be marked on whether they did their Saturday job well or not.
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