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Call for citizenship to be key post-16 skill

CITIZENSHIP should be added to the existing six key skills taught in post-16 training, the Government has been told by a powerful body of advisers.

The move would give the subject a firm footing in the 16-19 sector, also reaching those who are not in full-time education and training, according to the report published by the Further Education and Funding Council. All 16 to 19-year-olds on vocational courses take key skills.

"We seek to harness the great potential of young people, to encourage social change," says the report, commissioned by David Blunkett, the Education Secretary.

"Citizenship means not only concern with public affairs," it adds, "but learning the skills, knowledge and attitudes that make individuals effective in working with and for others, whether in a paid occupation or voluntary service."

Many of citizenship's key elements, including employee and consumer rights, will have direct relevance at post-16, the report says.

In its recommendations, the report says: "An entitlement to the developent of citizenship should be established which would apply to all students and trainees in the first phase of post-compulsory education and training.

"All such young adults should have effective opportunities to participate in activities relevant to the development of their citizenship skills, and to have their skills recognised."

Citizenship could prove a difficult subject to sell to employers. Some in industry have called for the abolition of some or all of the existing key skills: problem solving, working with numbers, improving own learning, application of number, information technology and communications.

"Some sectors support all six key skills and some just communication and working with numbers," said Tom Bewick, policy director of the National Training Organisations' national council.

"I think you would have some difficulty, in many of the employment sectors, getting this introduced.

"The idea of it (citizenship) being built into the modern apprenticeship framework does not sound right."

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