THOUSANDS of young people who left school or college in the area last year have found jobs through the Modern Apprenticeship route.

And the achievements are particularly impressive considering the recent changes in post-16 education and training that have seen responsibility for work-based learning transfer from Training and Enterprise Councils to the Learning and Skills Council.

Since their introduction Modern Apprenticeships have been popular with both employers and young people because they offer a wage or allowance, high-quality training, valuable work experience and a firm commitment from both sides.

Much hard work has gone into ensuring a seamless transition of the two organisations to minimise the impact on young people.

The policy of promoting Modern Apprenticeships throughout the transfer has paid off and young people are now very much aware of the alternative route to staying on at school or going to college.

There are many ways to gain qualifications and not all post-16 routes are suitable for all young people.

It is hoped that by maintaining the profile of the work-based learning route school and college leavers have been alerted to an option that may be best for them.

The Learning and Skills Council, which was launched in April, has taken over many of the responsibilities of the TECs and the role of The Further Education Funding Council.

The Council is a national organisation operating through 47 local offices with a budget of £5.5 billion in 2001.

The Council is responsible for all post-16 education in England - other than the university sector - including the planning and funding of further education colleges, school sixth forms, work-based learning for young people, workforce development, adult and community learning, information, advice and guidance for adults and education business links.