Letter: Obliging the unemployed to train without obliging society to provide them with jobs

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The Independent Online

Sir: Gillian Shephard's support for quality in private training ('Proving that companies which train, gain', 4 February) is in marked contrast with the Government's own dismal efforts. The standard and quality of government-funded Employment Training schemes has been sabotaged as Treasury cuts have significantly reduced both the number of trainees and the funding per trainee in real terms.

Less than half of trainees are on courses leading to a vocational qualification, more than two-thirds of trainees finish up with no qualification.

It is no great surprise that 66 per cent of ET leavers remain unemployed. As rising unemployment continues to generate real concern among the general public, John Major flounders in search of a policy, any policy, to reduce the figures.

Workfare or any variant designed to massage the unemployment register is no substitute for investment, both public and private, in the high-quality training that this country so desperately needs.

Yours faithfully,

TONY LLOYD

MP for Stretford (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

The writer is Opposition spokesman on training.

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