TRAINING requirements for school-leavers are being reduced in a major blow for the Government's key skills agenda.
Three key skills have been dropped from Modern Apprenticeships in hairdressing - and consultations are taking place about removing the rest.
The change was requested by the national training organisation for hairdressing and approved by the Department for Education and Employment as part of consultation with providers of apprenticeships, ending in September.
It has also emerged that training organisations in several other sectors are using the consultation period to try to reduce the number of key skills included in their programmes.
The six key skills were initially included to increase the employability of each young person generally, not just in the industry providing the apprenticeship.
"We feel these things are not our responsibility," said a spokesman for the hairdressing training organisation. "We feel they have just been imposed."
The industry has been toldby the DFEE that the key skills of "problem solving", "working with others" and "improving own learning" have been removed. It hopes the DFEE will also drop the remaining three, "application of number", "information technology" and "communications" from its apprenticeship framework.
Caroline Horrigan, of the tourism training organisation, said: "These skills should be taught in schools. We are happy with developing softer skills, such as working with others, which can be developed in the work-place. But, if this is about remedial work, employers are not interested."
The paint-manufacturing NTO's training manager Andrew Abaza said "It is likely we will have three core key skills, with a further three being optional, rather than all six."
The food and drink training organisation says it wants only numeracy, communications and information technology in its apprenticeship.
The training organisation National Council says communication and application of number should be mandatory.