HC Deb 18 April 1946 vol 421 cc2889-90
57. Mr. David Jones

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there is a considerable falling off in the attendance of apprentices at courses of study in technical schools and institutes, consequent upon the possibility of their being called up for military service in the middle of the apprenticeship period; and if he will consider granting automatic deferment to these people until their apprenticeship period is completed.

Mr. Ness Edwards

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the negative. As regards the second part, the question of the position of apprentices in relation to call up is under consideration.

Mr. Jones

Would my hon. Friend have regard to the concern exercised both by educational authorities and the parents of these apprentices who are concerned at their attitude because of the fact that it is likely they will be called up before they finish their apprenticeship, and consequently they are not attending the technical institutes?

Mr. Edwards

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Air made a statement on this matter the day before yesterday. I would refer my hon. Friend to that statement.

Mr. Janner

Will the Minister consider the question of deferring those who have been encouraged by the Services to take courses of specialist study? Will he see to their deferment until they pass their examinations, particularly if it is only a matter of a few months?

Mr. Edwards

On this we are advised by the university authorities and the joint university recruiting board. The steps that are being taken are the ones taken having regard to the vacancies in the universities. The House must keep this in mind. The vacancies in the universities must be kept for the men returning from the Forces.

Mr. Janner

What about technical schools?

Mr. Edwards

I am afraid that is another question.

Mr. De la Bère

A very important one.