A "sense of uncertainty" exists among Midlands teachers over a raft of new vocational qualifications set to be offered later this year, it was warned last night.
From September secondary schools across the country will start teaching the first five of what will eventually be 17 employer-led subjects to rival GCSEs and A-levels.
Dubbed the biggest transformation in education in half a century, the qualifications, in subjects like construction, aim to ensure less-academic pupils stay motivated and get a decent qualification.
However, teaching unions last night warned many members felt ill-prepared to deal with the radical changes.
They also highlighted transport and health and safety issues with pupils aged 14 upwards expected to travel to different locations part of the week as no one school is unlikely to offer all subjects.
Paula Roe, National Executive Member for the NASUWT's West Midlands region, said: "There are huge concerns around it. We have concern over the financing of these courses, pupil movement and risk assessment.
"We have to remember too that colleges aren't used to teaching 14-year-olds. The strategies for teaching 14-year-olds are different. Some college tutors don't have qualified teaching status.
"I am not sure the Government has communicated adequately with the teachers who are going to be teaching the diplomas.
"There is a real sense of uncertainty which can lead to negativity and we wouldn't want that."
The first five diplomas will be in construction, creative and media, engineering, information technology and society, health and development.
Yesterday the Government published a list of the first 86 schools and 16 colleges in the West Midlands to start teaching them in September.
They include 21 secondaries and six colleges in Birmingham. A staggered introduction will follow over subsequent years until 2013 when all 14 to 18-year-olds will have an "entitlement" to study a diploma.
Last year the head of one of the country's main exam boards which will be responsible for drawing up the new qualification expressed concern that they were being rushed through.
Greg Watson, chief executive of Coventry-based OCR, told The Birmingham Post teachers had not been given enough time to get ready.
Roy Baylis, head of Kings Norton Boys' School in Birmingham, one of the first in the country to offer a diploma in performing arts in September, also claimed colleagues felt they needed more time to prepare.
The National Union of Teachers criticised the Government, claiming it had ignored its calls for a "pilot phase" for the diplomas.
Lynn Collins, Midland regional secretary of the NUT, said: "Our main priority now is to ensure that quality is the priority and that employers and students alike can be sure that they are getting the best quality education and vocational opportunities.
"The practical problems, of students travelling between schools have to be faced. There will need to be common timetabling, common IT systems and transport provided to ensure the diplomas are universally available.
"In rural areas transport is a priority along with securing enough good quality work-based placements for students in their local area."
The Government believes the new diplomas will help bridge a long-standing disparity in esteem between vocational and academic qualifications.
It says two thirds of all secondary schools and three quarters of colleges in England have applied to offer them from September 2009.