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It is right to finish the job

It was disappointing to read Sir Michael Bichard's pessimistic view of the Learning and Skills Council's performance with disadvantaged young people ("Bichard says his LSC dream has gone sour", FE Focus, March 10).

While NVQs are important in building up skills to do a particular job, transferable skills such as communication and application of number are crucial to building a young person's career. It is welcome that these are a key part of the programmes within the "family" of apprenticeships, including "Entry to employment". The chance to earn and learn through an apprenticeship is an important stepping stone to a real quality job. And many young people thrive in work experience in an adult workplace.

"Entry to employment" gives young people not yet ready for an apprenticeship the opportunity to build their skills.

The focus on driving up completion rates in apprenticeships is right - to do otherwise undermines the reputation of all apprenticeship programmes.

Quality is key and completion rates are crucial in demonstrating this.

Frances O'Grady Deputy general secretary Trades Union Congress Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1

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