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Blunkett acts to close off alternative training route

DAVID Blunkett has told the Learning and Skills Council to phase out training that falls outside mainstream government schemes, writes Steve Hook.

This would effectively mean axing government-funded workplace training that does not lead to recognised qualifications. Instead the Education Secretary wants these trainees to work towards modern apprenticeships or vocational certificates.

The Association of Learning Providers, whose members claim to provide 80 per cent of work-based vocational training in the UK, has been urging the Department for Education and Employment to reconsider its position.

But the Education Secretary has been unmoved by calls to save "Other Training" - the official term for courses outside modern apprenticeships and the Learning Gateway, the mainroute into training.

Gateway projects are run by local careers services and training and enterprise councils, whose training role will be taken over by the Learning and Skills Council from April.

"I would like the LSC to work with my officials to phase out Other Training so that there are no new starts from September 2002," Mr Blunkett says in a letter to Bryan Sanderson, chief executive of the LSC.

"It is important the options that replace Other Training should be clear and the benefits to the participants obvious," he adds, The changes will affect some 60,000 young people, many of whom, says Mr Blunkett, "would be better served by the foundation modern apprenticeship". The rest would be offered pre-apprenticeship training with the opportunity to progress.

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