YTS replaced the Youth Opportunities Scheme (YOP) in 1983 and became the mainstay of the national training agenda set in 1981 by the White Paper A New Training Initiative. Like YOP, it involved substantial (in terms of time) work experience which was intended to provide on‐the‐job training, as well as requiring the trainee to complete a programme of vocationally related skills delivered in colleges of further education, private training agencies, or—in organizations with the facility to accommodate this—in the workplace. The off‐the‐job curriculum also included such transferable core skills as communication, numeracy, and a set of skills known as ‘social and life skills’. Trainees were paid a nominal ‘wage’ for which employers were subsidized by government funds paid through the local Manpower Services Commission, and later through the local Training and Enterprise Council. By 1988 there were over 500 000 contracted placements on the scheme. Criticisms of the programme included the allegation that many trainees were gaining little valuable experience in the workplace, were being given menial or meaningless tasks, and were failing to gain real employment on completing the scheme, and the suggestion that the scheme was intended as a means of omitting the numbers of unemployed school‐leavers from the national unemployment figures. On the other hand, many of those involved, both organizations and trainees, claimed that it provided valuable experience and a genuine route into employment for young people. It was replaced by Youth Training in 1989. See also key skills.