§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
I want to conclude my speech with some constructive suggestions. I have already welcomed the gesture made by the Government, as everyone concerned is bound to welcome it. Nonetheless, there are other aspects of the problem to which I think I ought to refer ere I resume my seat. The time is opportune for raising the school-leaving age. I hate the thought of thousands of youngsters who are denied an opportunity of proper training in industry being thrust out from the schools too soon. There are indications that parents want their children to gay at school, because they are staying on in ever greater numbers.
If the trade unions and employers could accept the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), that two years at school should count as part of the apprenticeship period, it would reduce some of the cost of training apprentices which industry now bears, and it would give many more boys a proper opportunity. Bilateral schools with a technical bias should be regarded, along with technical colleges, as places which will qualify in this respect.
The Government should show a sense of urgency in developing their county colleges scheme, because youth will be exposed, in greater numbers than in any generation in the last twenty years, to possible long periods of unemployment. I realise how many deep-seated interests there are in this question of restrictions in apprenticeships, but I entirely support my right hon. Friend's suggestion that we should not cling to the five-year period, especially with the advancement 1509 that has taken place in the standards of education in the past decade. The improvements in the secondary sphere of education have been phenomenal, and this fact ought to be reflected in a shorter period of apprenticeship being required by industry.
If we deal properly with the question of counting years at school as part of the apprenticeship period and, secondly, of reducing the apprenticeship period itself, we shall increase the number of skilled men which we so badly need and, at the same time, help to solve a gigantic social problem. We are talking of our teen-agers, the people who are facing great strain in their lives under normal conditions. The physical changes which take place in teen-agers are enough for them to get on with, without their having the added powerful frustration of not being trained as they want to be trained as engineers, printers or whatever calling they are attracted to.
My last point concerns the question of compulsion. None of us likes compulsion, and I like it as little as anybody in relation to the training of people. I do not know how far industry needs pushing in this matter, but it certainly has moved slowly. High as my regard is for the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr) and the work that he and his Committee did, I feel that we ought to make it clear to industry that if it is not prepared to move itself it must be prodded. Group schemes might be set up. I realise the difficulty involved in compulsion in this matter, but the Parliamentary Secretary ought to be able to give the House and the country an assurance that the Government will not allow industry merely to look at the question, but will expect results and, if they are not forthcoming, will provide a plan of their own.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Carr (Mitcham)
Seldom, I suppose, other than on the occasion of his maiden speech, does an hon. Member have the pleasure and privilege of hearing his name mentioned with such approval by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee as mine has been mentioned today.
It was a great honour to be the chairman of the Committee which produced the Report "Training for Skill", and in accepting the kind things which have 1510 been said about the Committee over which I presided I wish to make clear that I take them as an expression of thanks from the hon. Member to those who did the work, those representing the Trades Union Congress and the British Employers' Federation and the nationalised industries, to say nothing of the highly skilled secretariat provided by the Ministry of Labour and National Service. While a chairman is fortunate to have his name associated with this subject —and I can assure the Committee that there is no subject with which I would rather have my name associated—it is to the members of that Committee that the thanks of Parliament should be given, and I am sure that the thanks expressed today are intended for them.
I know, as was said by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, that it will be the feeling of all the members of the Committee over which I presided that what we had to say should be among the first words, and certainly not the last words, on this subject. When one cones to look at the subject, there are two background facts which stand out above all others. First, there is the national shortage of skilled manpower.
I confess that it was a surprise to me when I was at the Ministry of Labour and National Service to find the extent to which, even in areas with employment difficulties, there was an absolute shortage of skilled manpower: how so often the employment exchanges had vacancies for skilled jobs which could not be tilled, while on the other hand there were lists of men and women wanting jobs who were unskilled and for whom there were no vacancies. So there is this national shortage, and I believe that the need for skilled manpower will increase rather than decrease as the years go by and technical developments take their course. Therefore, not only have we to make good the shortage which exists in the present state of industrial technical development, but we have to provide an extra supply of skilled manpower to take account of the changes which at the moment are going ahead at such a pace.
To all those, particularly among trade unionists, who may feel that to attract an added number of skilled trainees into industry may prejudice the chances of employment for their members in the future. I would say that the whole of our 1511 experience in the past few years indicates that full employment will be easier to maintain if a larger proportion of our labour force in the future is skilled rather than unskilled.
The other background fact is the great number of young people, the increasing number, who will be leaving school—indeed, many are already leaving school—who will want not merely jobs but good progressive jobs in industry and commerce during the next few years. Luckily, the national shortage and the need of these young people marry together. So we have not just a problem but also an opportunity, if only we can take advantage of it. It would not be too strong to say that it will be a disgrace to our industrial organisation if we cannot match this need and this opportunity, because the two are unlikely to coincide to the same extent again for a good many years.
The main conclusion of our Committee was that the present apprenticeship system in this country was right in principle. Since our Report was published, I have listened to a fair amount of criticism of our insistence on this principle and I am still unrepentantly in favour of the principle we laid down. The right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), in what my hon. Friend rightly described as a far-sighted and excellent speech, threw some doubt on this principle, but when we take into account all that was said by the right hon. Gentleman we find that he did not depart too far from it.
Our Committee believed that we should build on practice and not on theory, and I am sure that is right for two main reasons. First, at its best the present British apprenticeship system produces skilled men of a quality certainly not exceeded and, I doubt, matched in any other country in the world. At its best it does that: the problem is to see that; the best in our system is more widely spread than at the moment.
The second reason why we think we should build on practice and tradition is the practical need for quick progress. It is all very well to work out wonderful theories about how things may be done better, and even to look abroad, where we may see how something is being done very well in other countries. But it is another thing to make a change in a system so strongly established as our 1512 apprenticeship system and to have it accepted and get it working within a short period of time.
Even were I persuaded in theory that we ought to make some basic change in the present principle, I could not advocate it during this critical period; and I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary made a most important point when he said that were we to try to introduce basic changes at the moment two things would happen. The first is the one he mentioned. There would be a tendency for people doing the job at the moment to hold off rather than to do more.
Secondly, so strongly is our present system supported by employers and trade unions that I think we should have a period of at least discussion and, I auspect, pretty strong argument before new methods were accepted and put to work. So, that to make basic changes in the system at present would, I believe, put back progress rather than speed it up.
§ Mr. Mikardo
Would the hon. Gentleman resist even some changes in the duration, content and form of apprenticeship training?
§ Mr. Carr
Indeed, not. Nor, if the hon. Member will look again at the Committee's Report, will he find that the Committee were against such things. Such possible changes were clearly marked among our conclusions and recommendations.
But if we are satisfied with the basic system, it does not follow that we should be satisfied with the progress which is being made under it, nor that we should rule out Government assistance to industry in doing its job according to its traditional methods. I should like to say something more about that later.
If we are to get effective action, it is essential that we should define and concentrate on the field of industry in which an increase in training can take place in the skills which we need. There can be no doubt that it must be towards the smaller and medium-sized firms that we have to look. Smaller and medium in this context does not mean only those firms which are small in total size. I have in mind those firms which are small or medium users of skilled manpower, even though their total labour force may be quite large.
An interesting example came to my notice a week or two ago. A friend of 1513 mine who attended a trade association meeting said jokingly to me that he found my name on the agenda and could not think why. It turned out to be because of a consideration of the Report of the Committee over which I presided. I asked what the trade association was going to do about it and my friend said it had come to the conclusion that, by and large, the trade did not use skilled manpower. That was correct in the main. The process workers are not skilled workers. But when I said, "Do not the firms in your industry use engineers to maintain the plant?" my friend replied, rather sheepishly, if I may say so, "I suppose they do, I did not think of that."
I believe there are many industries where the bulk of the labour is not skilled but where nevertheless they must have some skilled labour. Hitherto they have expected to go out and hire their skilled workers in the labour market at some stage. Now we must bring home to these firms that, though their usage of skilled manpower may be small, they must contribute to the training of skilled workers in the future.
§ Mr. Carr
I was hoping to come on to that subject straight away.
When one has defined the field, one must certainly look at the sort of organisation which we think we need to help such firms, to encourage and incite them, to do more in the future than they have done in the past.
First, among the type of help which, I think, is needed is help with the first year's training of an apprentice. I would not go as far as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth did in suggesting two years. As I think the Parliamentary Secretary suggested, there is a point that in the fairly early stages an apprentice ought to move into the practical world of industry and, provided his training is carried on properly in industry, he should not be kept out of it for too long. The fact that in our British system practice and training are so closely married together is of the greatest value.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
Is there not a case for a pre-apprenticeship train- 1514 ing year between the ages of 15 and 16 before one year in a training school?
§ Mr. Carr
I agree with the hon. Gentleman, who is forestalling me by a short head. If we are to give this help in the first year's training, there seem to be two principal ways in which it could be done. Industry should consider either on a geographical basis or an industry basis—and there is no reason why both bases should not be used—the building of joint training centres to look after the first year of an apprentice's training.
When the N.J.A.C. Committee visited Germany, before we produced our report, we saw an example of such a joint training centre at Solingen. It was very interesting to learn that this centre had been erected on the initiative of local industry, which had all contributed to the capital cost, although the West German Government had also given a grant in aid to the capital cost. I would like to impress upon my hon. and right hon. Friends the thought that it is advisable, indeed, I would say necessary, to consider offering such a grant in aid to any industries or localities in this country that are prepared to set up joint training centres. This is one way in which we could help the first year's training.
The other is the further development of the pre-apprentice course which was started in Scotland but which has also been practised in England and Wales to a lesser extent. The essential condition of development of the pre-apprentice course which could be done in technical colleges—and I believe that facilities exist in technical colleges for extending this idea—is that the year, or whatever the period may be, should count towards the total time of the apprenticeship once the trainee has moved from the technical college into industry. Help in the first year's training is the first thing that is needed.
The second point which should be considered is the development of group apprenticeship schemes. There have been some such schemes for a good many years in the engineering industry, and the Engineering Industries' Association has played a very big part in developing them. I do not want today to criticise what particular bodies are doing more than is necessary, but I could not help feeling as I have gone about the country talking on 1515 this subject and inquiring about it that there is a certain jealousy, shall I say, between the Engineering Employers' Federation and the Engineering Industries' Association on this subject.
It seems to me a great pity that there should be any sense of demarcation or jealousy between employers' organisations on a subject of this kind. I think the Committee must wish that, if there is any such feeling holding up the development of group apprenticeship schemes in the engineering industry, those concerned should quickly put it on one side and get on with the job.
One of the important things in the group apprenticeship scheme and one of its greatest features is that there should be a training supervisor responsible for all the apprentices in the group. When I had the pleasure of visiting one of these group apprenticeship schemes it was the value of the training supervisor of the group that impressed me most. With that in mind, I would warmly welcome the measure announced by the Government today to give a grant in aid to the Industrial Training Council to encourage and help in a practical way with the appointment of training supervisors to various bodies. I gather from what the Parliamentary Secretary said that the terms of that grant in aid would not restrict unduly the type of body or organisation which would qualify for aid if it appointed a training supervisor. I hope that is so.
Another field in which I think the small and medium firm could be helped is by the greater growth of block release in technical colleges as an alternative to day release. Our Committee received a certain amount of evidence which suggested that some employers, particularly those in the more remotely populated parts of the country, found day release a rather arduous business. They might find it less arduous and more easy to plan production if they could let an apprentice off for a number of weeks at a time instead of this irksome one day a week which has grown into the system. I think that the effect of that might be only marginal but that it could be of some importance. Apart from that, the apprentice attending a technical college for a number of weeks at a time might get from it more value than by going one 1516 day a week and getting his work there all mixed up with the rest of his work.
If these are the sort of things which we need to provide to encourage more firms to undertake training which have not done so in the past, we have next to ask ourselves how we are to get these facilities used and what influence we can bring to bear on industry for that purpose? First and foremost, I have little doubt that it needs leadership from industry itself on a joint basis both of trade unions and employers, and I hope that the Industrial Training Council will fulfil this need. I believe that it is right that it should be an advisory body and I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth that at the present time it should have some executive authority, some sort of compulsion for furthering what it has in mind.
In saying that, I very much welcome the grant in aid, which the Parliamentary Secretary has announced today, for a reason other than the specific purpose for which it is given. I think that to give the Industrial Training Council this grant in aid, and therefore to give it a specific task to carry out, might well bring it to life and give it a sense of purpose and a sense of authority and influence in industry which it could not have without some work of this kind to do. If that is where the joint leadership must come from, we have equally to look to the employers and the trade unions to play their own parts in influencing their constituents.
I was delighted when I saw that the British Employers' Confederation, at its special meeting on 21st April, gave such a strong lead and carried it through not just by passing resolutions and publishing them in the papers but by specific letters to all its constituents urging them to increase their intake of apprentices by 20 per cent. every year for the next few years.
I found very encouraging that lead from the central employers' federation, and I hope that it will press it effectively down to local levels. I would like to issue one word of warning and that is that the constituent members of the British Employers' Confederation do not by any means cover the whole field. There are very large numbers of firms, particularly perhaps the sort of firm which will have to do the training in future to meet this challenge, which are either not members of bodies affiliated to the B.E.C., 1517 or are members in a very formal sense and have no active contact with those employers' associations.
We have also to look to another very important body of employers' organisations, trade associations which do not exist in the industrial relations sense for conducting negotiations with trade unions, but, nevertheless, associations which very often have a more powerful influence with their members than the employers' associations themselves. I know from my experience that many firms pay attention to leadership, guidance and information which they receive from their trade association while being totally unaware of what the British Employers' Confederation and its constituent bodies are trying to do. I hope that, although these trade associations are not affiliated to the B.E.C. and its constituent members, the Industrial Training Council and the B.E.C. will not feel unable to bring these associations into discussions and the persuasion that is going on. They can be a very powerful media.
It may also be that the chambers of commerce in some of our important towns and districts are another important channel of communication for persuading industry to take action. I am not, of course, suggesting that such bodies should make apprenticeship agreements with trade unions. That is the proper job of employers' associations and trade unions. I am suggesting only that trade associations and chambers of commerce might be useful channels of persuasion which ought to be used and not neglected merely because they are in no way affiliated to the normal industrial relations machinery.
We must also have leadership from the trade unions. When we come to questions of the number of entrants, enforcement of ratios and seeing that they are reasonable, the age of entrants, the length of apprenticeship and scope of training, we come to a list of subjects on which we can make progress only with the good will and active leadership of the trade unions. I most warmly welcome what was said by the right hon. Member for Blyth on these points. Coming from the Dispatch Box on the Opposition side of the Committee and from a spokesman who himself is an important figure in the trade union world, what he had to say was of immense importance. I think we all recognise that in some of the things he said he must have known that he was 1518 likely to tread on some corns in various corners of the trade union movement.
The Committee over which I presided made recommendations on all these points. That carried one most important conclusion. It meant that they were blessed by the national leaders of the trade union movement sitting on that committee. They were convinced of the need for the changes. The difficulty they have—and employers have this difficulty just as much as trade unions—is to get the beliefs and aspirations held at national level accepted and acted upon at local level. All of us in our various capacities must do what we can to help with this work. All these matters which the right hon. Member raised were not only dealt with in our recommendations but were regarded by the Committee, with full support, as matters to which we attached much importance.
In conclusion, I wish to say something about the assistance think the Government can give. I do not believe assistance by the Government is incompatible with the basic principle to which the committee adhered. I personally look upon apprenticeship as part of education for life and not merely as training for a job. If it is that, quite apart from any industrial advantage, it seems by no means inappropriate that the Government should play a part in assisting it as well as in merely encouraging it. Of the six or seven ways in which I think the Government can help, first and foremost is the provision of help for group instructors. I have always put that first on my list and I am delighted that the Government have found it possible to announce that help today. I hope I shall not seem ungrateful if I press my hon. and right hon. Friends to continue a little further on the good path they have started to tread.
I should like also to see more help given to the training of instructors. The Ministry of Labour has at Letchworth a staff training college to train its own staff for Government training centres. Some industrial firms have sent their supervisors there to be trained in the art of training. If we are to increase the quantity and the quality of apprenticeship training, that is an important factor. I hope the use of Letchworth for this purpose will be extended, even though that might mean some extension in its scope. Personally. I have never seen why industry 1519 should not be asked and be able to pay for this training of its instructors, although at the moment I think there is some constitutional difficulty about allowing them to do so. But an extension of that facility could be valuable and it could be very largely paid for by industry itself.
As I have already mentioned, the Government ought to consider a capital grant towards setting up joint training centres. I should also like my right hon. Friend, as the months and the next year or two go by, to consider the operation of the special training allowances scheme, which is designed to help would-be apprentices from more remote areas. That is performing a useful purpose. I have no particular suggestion for extending it at the moment, but I think that circumstances might arise in which a greater use and development of that scheme could be of advantage.
My next suggestion concerns more the role of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education who, I understand, will be winding up the debate tonight. I hope technical college facilities can be developed to allow more scope for pre-apprenticeship schemes and also perhaps to develop on an experimental basis what is done in Derby where in a technical college there is an embryo apprenticeship centre in operation. I should not advise the immediate extension of this idea on a large scale, but I understand that it works in Derby. It is worth looking at and perhaps extending in one or two places to see what results accrue.
Finally, I hope the Government will still consider in future the possibility of giving tax remissions to firms in respect of the number of their apprentices and so in some way to compensate them for the cost involved in day releases.
While I strongly welcome what the Government announced today and what I believe is a most important way of encouraging the development of training, in my opinion some further measures are also desirable. I hope that in the next year or two we shall see the Government able to introduce one or more other measures such as I have mentioned to assist in this purpose.
We not only have to increase the quantity of training, but the quality. Perhaps the most important need in this respect is to have the first year of appren- 1520 ticeship in closely organised training such as a joint training centre or pre-apprenticeship course in a technical college. The first year of training is exceptionally important. Training the instructors is the second most important thing if we are to increase not only the quantity, but also the quality, of apprentice training. Then there are two other matters to which I hope the Industrial Training Council will give attention and leadership. One is the drawing up on a larger scale than at the moment in this cuntry of a syllabus of training for the various crafts. I should not want the rigid German system, but I think more could be done than is done at the moment in laying down a minimum syllabus. The second is the matter, mentioned by the right hon. Member for Blyth, of greater development of training tests, not on a compulsory but on a voluntary basis, at the end of apprenticeships. That could do a considerable amount to improve the quality of craftsmanship.
I apologise to the Committee if I have spoken for too long. When one has studied a subject of this kind one cannot help it becoming a bee in one's bonnet and one is conscious of the great number of aspects about which one can talk.
I have spoken only about apprenticeship training, but I hope that formal training can be extended and developed in the country among many occupations outside the traditional apprenticeship crafts. They need not all be full-length apprenticeships, but I hope that there will be more occupations in which a formal period of training comes to be expected as a necessary practice. Indeed, I hope that even in completely unskilled work the development at least of a short period of induction training can be encouraged, because all this, I am sure, will add to the economic efficiency of the nation and to the economic opportunities of the young people concerned.
It will do more than that. As has been said, this is a social as well as an economic matter. Many things need to be done before we can give men and women in their work a feeling of purpose and of satisfaction—not merely a feeling that work is only a necessary means of earning a wage packet. Many things could be done, but training is one of the most important, because if boys and girls entering industry have even a short industrial 1521 training, they will acquire a sense of purpose in the job which is greater than they would otherwise have had. It therefore helps to increase the stability and to raise the quality of our society. It is very valuable that the Committee should be discussing the matter today, and I hope that the discussion will help to give a lead to the country.
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
It is a great privilege to follow the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr), whose Report has formed such a large part of the discussion today. He said that there had been so many flattering remarks made about him that he felt almost as if he were making a maiden speech. I can assure him that if, on this occasion, I say that his speech was of great assistance to the Committee. I say it more sincerely than if it had been a maiden speech. The way in which I can perhaps flatter him most is by telling him that I shall largely follow him in many of the things he said.
It is significant that so far in our debate there has been a large measure of agreement. If the tone of the debate is perhaps typical of the way in which we sometimes discuss these matters, I hope that people outside will not misunderstand the strength of purpose which the Committee has in the matter and the anxiety which it feels and which we hope industry feels, too.
As the hon. Member for Mitcham said at the end of his speech, and as other hon. Members have said, the problem of providing employment for young persons is largely a social problem, but I will start by spending a few moments on the question of apprenticeship. It is a question which the Committee has been approaching with characteristic caution. That is because apprenticeship is the sacred cow of British industry, although it has recently had some examination, thanks to the operations of the committee over which the hon. Member for Mitcham presided and to the even more sacrilegious study undertaken by Professor Lady Gertrude Williams, the results of which were published in her book Recruitment to Skilled Trades.
As hon. Members have said, we are concerned in this debate not only with numbers, but also with the quality of the 1522 training given at present in British industry. Lady Gertrude Williams pointed out that in all essential points our apprenticeship system is exactly the same as the method introduced into this country more than 800 years ago and finally given legal authority by the Statute of Artificers in 1562. It was entirely suitable for a domestic system of industry, training being given to a boy or girl not only in a craft, but also in the customs of society and to some extent in religious observance, but it is quite unsuited to a modern industrial society. Being based on the guild system, as it largely was, it was very much concerned with restrictions of numbers of journeymen, and attention has, therefore, been directed to the question whether trade unions today are restrictive of the numbers entering into apprenticeships.
I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), in his opening speech, pointed to the great exaggeration which there has been of the extent of these restrictions and to the fact that in the vast majority of industries there is no restriction at all. We agree, however, that there are some resistances, particularly to late entry, and this is a matter which needs serious attention if we are to cope with the extensive technological and scientific changes which will take place in British industry in the next few years.
The Committee over which the hon. Member for Mitcham presided complained, rightly, of the lack of statistics. We have to rely to some extent on guesswork and to some extent on the Answers given from the Government Front Bench. It appears that in 1956–57 about 35 per cent. of the boys and 6 per cent. of the girls between the ages of 15 and 17 entered some sort of apprenticeship or learnership. In that year the number of school-leavers was 446,000. Another way of looking at it is to consider the number of those who go on to any sort of further education, much of which is vocational. In the same year, about 161,000 at the age of 17 were in further education, or about one-third of the age group. This year, for the City and Guilds examinations, which are mostly in crafts and for technicians, there are 147,500 candidates. All these figures exclude approximately 20,000 students a year at the universities.
1523 These figures all confirm the point that only between 20 and 30 per cent. of young people leaving school have any sort of further training at all. But there is, of course, a great variation between industries and occupations. Not all industries need the same degree of training. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that nearly 40 per cent. of all evening class entries in subjects related to industry or commerce, are in engineering and building and another 50 per cent. are in commercial and professional occupations, most of which are clerical, largely shorthand and typewriting. If we examine the figures further, it looks as if in other occupations only 2 to 3 per cent, of the boys and girls leaving school are given any serious training for their employment at all.
Perhaps I may turn to the future needs of the country and of industry, to which other hon. Members have referred. The Carr committee, if I may refer to it by the appellation usually given it, expected an increased demand from the main industries which take apprentices but was unable to give any figures. From my own experience, I should think that British industry is probably underestimating its future needs as a great part of it has always underestimated the effect of scientific development and economic change outside. We have always been behind in the application of research, in estimating what our competitors will do and in estimating economic changes. In the past industry in this country has not been good at looking forward and at planning for change, especially at the speed at which change is taking place at present.
In an article in Engineering, published on 28th February last year, there was an estimate of the need for skilled workers and technicians in the future. The figures given were 1,300,000 skilled workers and 454,000 technicians by 1966. It was pointed out that to achieve these numbers we needed about 86,000 extra apprenticeships each year—nearly three times our present total. The way in which that calculation was made might cause one to doubt its accuracy, but if at least half the school-leavers in the next three or four years were apprenticed, and if we took account of the bulge, we could at least double the present number, and that appears to be what most people would think will be required.
1524 Our fear that nothing is being done to meet this need was confirmed by the figures given by the Parliamentary Secretary this afternoon. We have to press on the country and the Government that this is an extremely serious problem. We all agree that these increased numbers are needed and that everything must be done to draw attention to the fact that the number of apprenticeships and learner-ships, instead of increasing, is at present decreasing.
This is not a new problem. Many medium or smaller firms in industry, even in engineering and building, offer no training whatever, quite apart from the firms which employ engineers or builders but which are not in those industries. These are the firms to which the hon. Member referred. There are whole industries in which there is practically no systematic training whatever. The recent Report of the Advisory Committee on Further Education for Commerce shows that the training for commercial occupations is quite inadequate in this country and that we are miles behind our continental competitors in this respect. We shall have to turn our attention to this in the immediate future.
The hon. Member for Mitcham said that he would like to see national syllabuses for industrial apprenticeship schemes, but there are more than 100 schemes already in existence, based, I believe, on the war-time report on the recruitment and training of juveniles for industry and on the subsequent discussion that took place in the separate industries, between the two sides. As there is not a representative of the Ministry of Labour present on the Government Front Bench, perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education will be able to get from his hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour a reply to a question I wish to ask him. I am told that in 1952, or about that time, the Ministry of Labour examined six of these apprenticeship schemes to see how they were working. I should like to know whether a report was drawn up and what the results were. I understand that there was an enormous variation in the extent to which apprenticeship schemes were in being, varying from zero to 100 per cent., among the firms in the industries.
It is important to realise that these schemes are already in existence. There are also 300 City and Guilds syllabuses 1525 for technicians and craftsmen awards based upon the courses at technical colleges. The British Chambers of Commerce themselves have an apprenticeship scheme for clerical and commercial occupations. Unfortunately, it is not very widely known and is very little used. The fact is that there are paper apprenticeship schemes, and that there are technical and commercial classes waiting for students. The skeleton exists. What is needed is some action to compel industry to clothe it. We do not necessarily need to go into the whole business of drawing up new schemes.
I turn to the question of quality. We have a terrible tendency in this country to be extremely complacent about old-established customs, among which are our apprenticeship schemes, and to be very reluctant to examine what our foreign competitors do. Even this morning, when I was preparing the remarks I am putting before the Committee, I read an article in that excellent paper, the New Scientist, by a company education officer. The article accepted without question the fact that there were no national requirements covering the contents of apprentice training schemes, and states that passing-out tests have only limited significance. Yet, both these things are used by our continental competitors. They have national syllabuses for apprentice training schemes and they have certification of craftsmen.
It is true that excellent work has been done by some of our largest firms, particularly in the electrical engineering industry and, of course, by the nationalised industries. I would like in particular, to pay a compliment to the Post Office, which has an admirable scheme of training, based largely on City and Guilds awards. Promotion is not entirely based on the taking of these courses and the obtaining of awards, but they are largely taken into account.
I should like to congratulate the Admiralty on an unsual scheme by which it assists the Post Office. This the Admiralty does by allowing ships to collect radio operators from small islands in obscure places, bringing them on board and allowing them to take the examination and providing invigilators, presumably returning them to their posts afterwards. This is a good example of enterprise on the part of the Admiralty and the Post Office, which is a nationalised 1526 industry, which industry as a whole might very well copy.
§ Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)
My hon. Friend refers to the admirable scheme in which the Admiralty is helping the Post Office. Will he permit me to suggest that he should say something about the stepping up of the number of apprentices that the Post Office is taking on?
§ Mr. Albu
That is a point which my hon. Friend might take up with the Postmaster-General. I am discussing quality, not numbers. The difficulty of the Post Office is that it is, as it were, a closed industry. One who was trained for the Post Office might not easily find employment elsewhere. It is a matter that might well be further examined.
There has been an encouraging growth in recent years of education and training officers and training workshops. We all welcome the Government grant for increasing the number of training officers, but these must not be ex-officers without industrial experience, or superannuated foremen or works managers who have no understanding of training methods. This is a highly-skilled job. But in a very large number of firms the training given is quite inadequate. There are far too many so-called apprentices who are doing what is known as "watching Nelly". There is far too little selection to ensure that the apprentices are capable of receiving the instruction. Those who are allowed day release, or are encouraged to take evening classes, are often sent to take or are allowed to take courses that are quite unsuitable to their capacities or to the work they intend to do.
As has already been said, apprenticeship is a form of education. It requires at least one person in every firm who will give the matter his special attention, and who has made a special study of training methods so that he can be responsible for seeing that the apprentices are really trained and are not, as too often happens at present, employed merely as cheap labour. In manual occupations, the need for training workshops where the principles of tools are taught in the first six months of the year by special instructors is important. Instruction should also be given in calculations, drawing and the basic science of the industry, and this is best given at technical colleges by day release or perhaps by block release.
1527 Small firms cannot afford to do this by themselves. It is a shame that group apprenticeship schemes like those run by the Engineering Industries' Group Association, and by the Enfield Manufacturers' Association, have not been more widely copied. The hon. Member for Mitcham referred tactfully to there being a certain amount of jealousy on the part of the Engineering Employers' Federation. I assure him that this is the case. It really is shocking that this body of employers, whose federation covers the largest body of employers who take apprentices, is doing everything it can to prevent the starting of group schemes. The Engineering Industries' Group Association is trying to start schemes in a large number of areas in the country, such as in the Midlands, Manchester, South Wales, the West Riding and Bolton. Every time it has gone into an area the Engineering Employers' Federation has circularised employers in the area advising them to delay.
What is the reason? The truth is that the Engineering Employer's Federation is an obscurantist body which covers a very large number of mechanical engineering firms which are extremely backward, do no research and employ no properly qualified technical staff. They are unwilling to carry out adequate apprenticeship schemes and are doing everything they can to stop other people from doing so. Unless we can shake the attitude of the Engineering Employers' Federation we shall not get much advance in this field. This negative attitude is bound to be reflected in the British Employers' Confederation and, therefore, in the Industrial Training Council, whose lethargy has been much criticised outside, far more than it has been criticised here today. It is, therefore, unfortunate that it has been set up within the offices of the British Employers' Confederation.
I would like to say a few words about awards and certificates. The number of awards in the technical and commercial fields is really fantastic. This is partly due to the backwardness of our education system in the last century, when examining bodies came into being before schools and colleges, and proliferated certificates, diplomas and what-have-you. There have been complaints of the very high failure rate for some of these awards, particularly in respect of the National Certificates and of the City and Guilds courses. 1528 But these figures are compared with those of the very much smaller number of volunteer students before the war. Most of the students today are no longer volunteers, because they are sent to the schools by their employers. Those who would have been volunteers before the war are those who, today, are likely to go to grammar school and on to university education.
A very large part of the failure is due to inadequate selection of apprentices, and the failure to understand the nature of the courses they have to undertake. I agree that it would be undesirable to follow the continental rule that nobody can practise a skilled craft without a certificate, but it is desirable that there should be more certification voluntarily undertaken and for this purpose there are a growing number of suitable certificates and other awards; for instance, the new City and Guilds awards for courses in mechanical engineering craft practice, in which the first examinations will be held this year, for heating and ventilating operatives and a new course for building craftsmen. As more and more employers begin demanding the certificates and more and more apprentices expect to get them, this will itself tend to raise the standard of training.
The Government's proposal will give some incentive to industry, but I do not think that it goes far enough. I believe that there will have to be some method of tax relief for small employers on the lines of the Engineering Industries' Group Association scheme. I believe that that scheme was put to the Government and it was expected to be incorporated in the Finance Bill. I wonder whether it was the opposition of the Engineering Employers' Federation that prevented this? In any case, I warn the Government that I will move an Amendment to provide that relief when the Bill is dealt with in Committee.
We may also need a levy, such as there is in France, based on the number of skilled workers employed, to enable training workshops to be established in technical colleges, with relief for those undertaking approved training. But the schemes to receive relief, either from tax or levy, must be schemes which are of the very highest character, with proper persons in charge, with proper syllabuses, training facilities, and so on.
1529 I very much agree with the proposals made on both sides of the Committee for the provision of training workshops at technical colleges, or at Ministry of Labour training centres or R.O.F.s, for the use of smaller firms. We should also encourage the pre-apprentice training year. This need not be given only at technical colleges. More and more children are being kept on at secondary modern schools where they can take the Royal Society of Arts and pre-technical examinations—not as part of industrial training. but as a link between school and industrial life, where the vocational bias is used as an incentive to continue education in English, mathematics, science, and so on. This is much to be encouraged. Already, because of the demands of modern industry, many firms are beginning to demand higher educational standards for apprentices, and this tends to increase the numbers who stay on at school in this way.
There has been a very significant and useful rise in the numbers taking the examinations of the Associated Examining Board, which gives a General Certificate of Education in practical subjects. Over 15,000 took this examination last year, and the figure looks like being more than double this year. This certificate is a very suitable award, following pre-apprenticeship training, for those going into industrial apprenticeships. It is very encouraging that about one-third of the number last year came from secondary modern schools, and 60 per cent. from technical colleges, who must mostly have attended secondary modern schools.
I have one further suggestion which has not so far been made in the debate. The Government may not necessarily like it, but I think it important. The Industrial Training Council should be reformed under an independent chairman, with a specialist and highly qualified staff for collecting statistics and information, and formulating plans for consideration by both sides of industry. I do not believe that a body composed of the very busy people at the top of industry can get this job done. It is best done by a body of keen officials under a "live" chairman. Until that Council is re-formed, we shall not get the pressure on industry that is desirable.
I should now like to say something about those who are not destined to be 1530 skilled craftsmen or trained clerical workers. If we double the number of apprenticeships we shall have 50 per cent. or 60 per cent. of boys and girls going into some sort of training. To cope with that, better use will have to be made of existing training schemes such as that in, for instance, the retail trades, and there must be far more training schemes for girls. But we will still be left with about 40 per cent, who will receive no training at all.
I believe, with the hon. Member for Mitcham, that every boy and girl should have some training for employment, even if it is mainly an introduction to the particular industry or service in which he or she is to work. It will not only improve their efficiency and that of the industry, but will greatly improve the quality of their lives. Where training is given in jobs previously considered of very little skill it very often arouses great enthusiasm and enhances the dignity of the job.
The City and Guilds, for instance, has a course for boiler operatives, which has certainly given a new status to those who take it. Last year, 1,500 operatives sat the examinations, and 83 per cent. passed. This year, 3,000 candidates are expected. I believe that one of those who passed last year was an operative who could not read or write. He took the course, and was allowed to take the examination with his wife reading the questions to him. This course has clearly increased the interest in and the sense of dignity of the job.
British Railways train engineers and engine drivers, but what do they do about porters? Do they ever think that this man, who meets the public, should be made to know that his job is an important part of the service? Does he get any training in, or induction into it? Again, what about hospital domestic staff? What training or induction do they get? Would it not be far better for them and for the service for which they work if they were given a better understanding of their job in the whole scheme, and so have raised for them the dignity of their working lives?
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth rightly said, we are not only dealing with the economic future of the country but with the lives of the majority of boys and girls now growing up and 1531 leaving school. At present, the jump from school to employment is for most youngsters a jump into an unknown world which they will never really understand and with which they will never come to terms. It may be difficult to make many of the jobs in our society fully satisfying by themselves, but at least we can help those who will carry them out to understand the significance of the contribution they will make to the common weal. But to do that we must have a much bigger effort on the part of industry, and an even bigger one on the part of the Government.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Mr. J. C. George (Glasgow, Pollok)
It is characteristic of an active democracy to be dissatisfied with the status quo. Today we have had evidence that the Committee is dissatisfied with things as they are, though sometimes in criticising things as they are we tend to give ourselves less than credit for what we have done and are doing.
In Scotland, our problem is not just the narrow one of youth and employment training but the greater one of a country which is continually suffering from a high rate of unemployment, which sees its trained people emigrating over the Border and its research graduates leaving the country. That is the big problem that must concern Scotland, and the employment and training of youth is only one part of it, although a very vital part.
I was extremely interested in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), who showed a complete understanding of and deep sympathy with the problems of youth at the present time. Many of his points I had intended myself to raise. In fact, with very little of his speech indeed could I disagree, and almost all of it I could praise generously.
He mentioned several things worth commenting on. He spoke very bravely about the present length of apprenticeship courses, and that is something that we who have dealt with apprentices and apprenticeship courses for years have long maintained. Many apprenticeships are far too long, and should be shortened. The right hon. Gentleman also said that a higher age might be introduced for apprenticeships. This is a very important 1532 matter because, as he said, we are suffering from redundancy among middle-aged men. Men are being forced to spend their lives in labouring jobs when, with some training—though I do not at all agree with the right hon. Gentleman's idea of a three-year apprenticeship course for the middle-aged—they might be able to go through life, if not skilled, at least semi-skilled.
In that connection, I should like my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour to look at what is being done in Sweden about this very problem. In Sweden they have what is termed the accelerated training course. They bring men in from the fields and the forests. They bring in unskilled workers from the country and from abroad. By this accelerated training scheme they produce semi-skilled, and in some cases fairly highly skilled, men in a comparatively few months. They produce men who can operate turret lathes and do many complex engineering jobs. By this method of training, men in middle age can be given the new chance for which the right hon. Member for Blyth pleaded. That scheme in Sweden is well worthy of study by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour.
Is the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. George) aware that we did far more of that in England during the war than Sweden has ever done?
§ Mr. George
It may have been done in England during the war, but it is not being done today. The fact that it is not being done today led to the plea from the right hon. Member for Blyth. He pleaded that something should be done for the middle-aged worker. I am pleading that the Swedish accelerated training course should be examined to see whether it could be a success in this country.
The right hon. Member for Blyth also raised a question which has been a burning one for many years. Should an apprenticeship course be closed with the award of a certificate? The trade unions have never liked a compulsory certificate to show the end of an apprenticeship. When one studies this matter, one wonders if it is not adding to what is already there. When I served an apprenticeship in one trade, I took what was available then. I took the City and Guilds course, which has been mentioned 1533 many times today. City and Guilds courses are widely taken in Scotland, and they are widely recognised by employers as evidence that the young man has served his apprenticeship and attained that higher standard of skill which marks him out from those who have not obtained the certificate.
If that is not done, I believe that we should consider the introduction of some voluntary certificate to be granted to the skilled apprentice who has finished his course and thought it worth while to obtain some indication to carry forward into later life.
I thought that the right hon. Member for Blyth might have gone a little further, but perhaps he went far enough for one day in the atmosphere in which he was speaking. It has been evident in many industries that there is a need to reduce the number of crafts and trades. Some of the trades are merging together, and we could with profit reduce the number of trades in which we are at present training apprentices. Many things can be done to clarify the apprenticeship position. The speech by the right hon. Member for Blyth today was the greatest advance towards cleaning up in this field which I have heard in my time.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke about the challenge of today. Hon. Members on this side of the Committee are very definitely aware of the challenge of the years in which we live, the challenge of the scientific age, and the danger that the glittering prizes lying ahead could be lost by our own shortcomings. My hon. Friends and I are absolutely aware of the need to produce the maximum number of skilled men in the immediate future. As has been mentioned several times today, we are aware also that the general labour force of the future must be far more intelligent, mechanically minded and adaptable than it has been in the past.
To that end we must direct our training and education, even after the beginning of work in the general labour force. We must raise the level of intelligence of our labour force if we are to win the prizes which can be won in the years ahead. We must have far fewer hewers of wood and drawers of water. We must have far more brain at work and far less muscle. This can be done.
We must not fail this generation, and hon. Members on this side of the Com- 1534 mittee are well aware of it. In Scotland we have taken steps. In recent years we have seen the most radical advance in technical education in the history of Scotland. We see sixteen new technical schools being built in various parts of Scotland. We see our central institutions expanding and our universities expanding vastly. In Scotland we are meeting the challenge on the technical education side and a dramatic expansion is evident throughout the country. We are all aware that the need for the training of youth in the future is known, not only to employers, but is percolating throughout society up and down the country. I meet demands at all public meetings asking what we should do for the better education and better training of our children. The country is aware of the need and we must measure up to it. I believe that on the educational front in Scotland we are measuring up to the need of the present age.
As was mentioned earlier, we have not only made preparations for a remarkable expansion in technical education, but have introduced pre-apprenticeship courses. This is very vital, for it ties up with earlier speeches. We have excellent pre-apprenticeship courses, which are a very vital link between the school and the workshop. Some last six months. Some last a year. They are absolutely excellent courses for providing that link.
The right hon. Member for Blyth suggested that the course should last for two years, but we are doing it in six months and a year and it is playing a very notable part in training our youth to be better equipped for industry. It would be an excellent gesture if it could he agreed that the year spent in the pre-apprenticeship course should count in the length of apprenticeship.
In Scotland we feel that the awareness of the population and the readiness of the Government will ensure that we shall always meet the needs of the years in which we live. The flow of technicians and technologists which is evident at present will become a flood by the time that the nation needs it. In Scotland we do not feel that we are not meeting the needs of the youth of today on the educational front.
I ask myself, and I have heard the question asked today, whether the Government should do more to educate 1535 youth technically at the age of 15, 16 or 17. There have been pleas today that the Government should provide new schools and training centres to give a two-year apprenticeship training. I do not agree with that, for many reasons. I think that the Carr Committee did right to divide the responsibility into two. It said that the education and technical education of the youth should be the responsibility of the State and the apprenticeship training for industry should be the responsibility of the industrial system. I thoroughly believe in that.
I make one reservation. While I could not ask for training centres to be set up throughout the country to do the job of industry, there is a case for looking at areas of persistent high unemployment. I mean towns which normally export youth, such as Dundee and Greenock in Scotland, which cannot see their way to employ a large number of apprentices and where their young people are entering dead-end jobs. I believe that there is a case for building an apprentice training centre in areas like that. I do not mean a magnificent building to take hundreds, but a small centre to provide apprentice training for the youths in those towns who could not normally expect to be taken on as apprentices, because in any case the towns do not need many, and who would be forced to take dead-end jobs. Towns of that nature produce more than they need. In that way perhaps we could close a little gap and do something to ensure that the young men in those towns would he better equipped for the future and would not have to look forward to dead-end jobs.
There have been demands also that the Government should help, by way of taxation reliefs and in other ways, to do a job which I honestly believe is industry's job. We had one case in Scotland. Speaking after the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works had spoken, the personnel officer of one of the largest engineering works in Scotland said, as reported in the Scotsman of 21st January of this year:What industrial representatives here today can afford to increase their apprentice intake simply because they are deemed to have suitable facilities and, furthermore, to do this from altruistic motives with no financial assistance from the Government?1536 The Parliamentary Secretary said that such an attitude was understandable, but regrettable. I deplore that attitude on the part of free enterprise. I believe that if free enterprise is to remain the dominant partner in our industrial set-up, as I believe that it must, it must stand up and shoulder its responsibilities. It is an old Conservative adage that there is no power without responsibility. If our industrial system is to enjoy that power, it must shoulder its responsibilities, and the training of apprentices is part of its responsibilities. If the cost of apprenticeship training is only £15 to £20 million a year, as was estimated by the right hon. Member for Blyth, that is by no means an unbearable burden for industry to shoulder.
§ Mr. Mikardo
Has the hon. Gentleman heard the story of the man whose house was on fire? When somebody asked him why he did not throw a bucket of water on the fire, he said, "I have rung for the fire brigade. I am not going to do their job for them." The plain fact of the matter is that the Government are intervening because industry does not do the job. What is the good of the hon. Gentleman continually saying that the Government should keep out because industry should do the job?
§ Mr. George
If the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) would let me finish my speech and not attempt to make it for me, he might learn from it.
§ Mr. George
I will answer the point in my own good time. Youth depends upon others to equip it with the tools for life. It is a fair division that the Government equips it technically, in a humanistic way to face life, and industry does its job.
The quotation I made and the intervention by the hon. Member for Reading are answered very fully in a way that shows that industry, on the broadest front, is not unprepared to shoulder its responsibilities. It has been said here already that the British Employers' Confederation has written to every member throughout the country—it has written to me—urging everyone with great vigour to face the situation—
§ Mr. George
—which is confronting the country now and which will develop between now and 1962, when we shall have the bulge coming through the schools and the cessation of National Service. The Confederation has suggested that industry should employ another 35,000 apprentices every year during the next five years. This will mean 175,000 extra skilled men at the end of five years. I believe that some hon. Members opposite would be quite happy if this did not come off. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] People in industry intend that it shall come off.
§ Mr. George
The hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) had a fair time himself.
That is the task facing every industrialist member of the Confederation, to assist in employing 35,000 extra annually for the next five years, and vigorous pressure is being exerted and will be exerted to see that it is carried out. Industry is prepared to shoulder its responsibilities, as it should be. I am not making any excuses for industrial failure in the past. I am pointing out the duty for the future, and I am certain that industry is prepared to fulfil it. I do not believe that any tax remissions are needed, and I deplore that some industrialists have pleaded for them.
Is apprenticeship training good enough and wide enough as we have it today? As regards the position in Scotland, I want to quote from an authority, Professor Small of the Glasgow University. Giving his experience after many visits to industrial undertakings in Scotland, he said:Taking account of the great number of small and ill-equipped firms all over the country which employed apprentices, it could not be but feared that the facilities for training which are available to a large proportion of the intake to the skilled trade of engineering were such as to do an ill-service to the status of the craft.I take that quotation from the Scotsman of 8th October, 1958.
Professor Small is further reported as suggestingthat small firms and large ones whose work covered only a narrow field might profit 1538 from joining a group apprenticeship scheme in which the facilities of the group as a whole would be at the disposal of all the apprentices it employed.That is clear condemnation of the position as it exists in Scotland, and, obviously, from the speeches made today, of the position as it exists in England.
Group apprenticeship schemes are not new. During the last eleven years I have had experience of sending my own apprentices to such a group scheme. The factory about which I am speaking was one comparable with the one my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr) mentioned in his speech, employing a large number of men but a very small number of engineers. All the firms in that little town of Alloa in Scotland were led by the Harland Engineering Company into an apprenticeship group scheme where we had training officers and training supervisors, and an excellent job was done for ten years. There is, I think, nothing to learn there, but unfortunately, it has not spread wide enough.
I appeal to industry in Scotland, as hon. Members from England have done for England, to see that in the smaller and medium-sized firms people should get together and form more groups. An apprentice trained in a narrow skill in a small factory is very little more than unskilled in the modern world. He must learn more than one narrow part of his trade; otherwise he is not really a tradesman. By forming an apprenticeship training scheme, use can be made of the premises of larger firms and the young men can learn many aspects of several trades. This is one of the directions in which we must advance. There must be more apprenticeship training groups under the capable leadership of properly selected men.
Incidentally, that same firm, the Harland Engineering Company, showed its appreciation of the needs of the day a few years ago by starting what is now called S.E.T.S.—the Scottish Electrical Training Scheme—whereby graduates are kept together in Scotland and induced not to go to England or abroad. They are paid full salary for two full years in order to keep them there and they are trained for the electrical industry which is advancing so much today. But we are not doing nearly enough. It is essential for smaller firms to have their 1539 apprentices trained to the level of the best.
Day release is another important aspect of apprenticeship training today. There is not nearly enough being done in Scotland or in England. Scotland is facing the matter in a half-hearted way. Five years ago, we had only 5,000 released for day release courses. That number has now risen to 30,000. A few weeks ago, the Joint Under-Secretary of State said that it should rise to 60,000 within a few years. In the City of Hamburg, where day release is compulsory, we find that 76,000 out of a population of 1¾ million are sent on day release courses. On that basis, Scotland should have 200,000 attending day release courses. That is the ideal. We all believe that the industry should give facilities for day release to all. That is how it should be, and we look forward to the day when all in industry must take day release courses.
In the meantime, we must in Scotland encourage a greater awareness among employers of the benefits of day release. These tasks lie fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the associations of employers. They must be made aware of their responsibilities and must exert more vigorous pressure on their members to do their duty towards our youth and help it to face the future.
In Scotland, we have seen not only our tradesmen wander away. We have seen our graduates wander away. We need our graduates for the future more than we have needed them in the past. We have more young people to teach. We have a far greater education system to operate, and we must retain our graduates for that. The position at present is quite alarming. In Glasgow, during the last four years, in science, engineering and technology, 1,374 graduates were trained. Only 42 per cent. of those remained in Scotland. The rest came to England, and that is not counting those who went abroad. In Edinburgh, only 34 per cent. were retained. We have been losing the type of man who can guarantee that Scotland will be equipped for the future.
I return now to the problem I mentioned at the beginning. In Scotland, we have to suffer an obstinate and persistent level of unemployment year by year, in 1540 good years and in bad years. which is double that of England. Unless we can successfully tackle that overall problem, we shall never really succeed in making Scotland prosperous. It should be part of the Government's policy, written into their policy, that they intend that the Scottish unemployment figure shall, within measureable time, be reduced and maintained at a figure comparable with that in the South. Until we can do that in Scotland and give Scotland as a whole the feeling that it will be a prosperous and expanding country, not one with an obstinate and persistent level of unemployment, we shall not retain our graduates.
We are doing something to accelerate the pace of industry. We are doing a lot to make the progress of education more rapid. But not nearly enough is being dome in Scotland to make Scotland a prosperous country as attractive to its young men as it should be.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)
I cannot avoid commenting that the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. George), especially in the latter part of it, was very contradictory. He made a stout defence of the right of industry—I could say "employers" because, although he spoke of industry, he clearly had in mind only one side of it—to make its own policy on training. He quoted to us communications from the British Employers' Confederation and referred to the letter it sent out urging firms to do more. He quoted one or two examples of what was being done by the best firms.
Then the hon. Gentleman said—this is really one of the basic points in the whole debate—that not nearly enough is being done. He said that we must have more group training schemes, more day release, and so on. In other words, industry, left to itself, is not fulfilling its task, having regard to the national good. I want to return to that point later, and to suggest that something should be done about it, but I wanted to make that comment at the outset, because it seemed to me that there was this profound contradiction in what the hon. Member was saying.
Earlier in his speech the hon. Member said much with which I agree. In fact, is has been a rather extraordinary feature of the debate that so far the speeches 1541 from both sides have tended to emphasise the same points; but one basic criticism which I have, and which I think some of my hon. Friends will have, of the speeches from the other side is that they have underestimated the crisis with which the bulge confronts this country. I felt, when the Parliamentary Secretary was speaking, that he said quite a lot about good intentions, with which we would all agree, but completely played down the seriousness of this situation.
We know that by 1962 the number of school-leavers will be 25 or 30 per cent. above the number this year, and over 50 per cent. more than the number in 1956. We know that these extra school-leavers will coincide with the end of National Service. Indeed, the Parliamentary Secretary himself told us that this double process—the ending of National Service and the bulge—will release on to the labour market about 1 million extra workers.
The hon. Gentleman said that we absorbed 1 million extra workers in the last ten years, hut, surely, there are two features of this situation which are different. These extra workers are to come on the labour market in a shorter period. They will not be spread smoothly over ten years, but will flood on to the market in two or three years. Another thing is that they will be concentrated amongst young people, and will not be people of all ages. Most serious of all, we are looking ahead to this situation in a year or two hence against a background of the economic stagnation which we have had in this country for the last four years.
If we were able to say now that our economy has been expanding for the last four years, and that we could face with confidence the prospect of expanding in the next few years on something like the same rate, we could talk fairly confidently about absorbing this addition to the labour force without having too much to worry about. The fact is that there is a grave situation facing school-leavers now, before the bulge has reached the labour market. I think that the critical seriousness of this situation is something which hon. Gentlemen opposite have underestimated.
I should like to make a brief quotation from a report for 1957–58, made to the West Ham borough council by the youth employment officer and I deliberately chose this quotation not only to make a 1542 constituency point, but also because my constituency is one with less unemployment than the national average. Even so, we read such a statement as this:The fears which were expressed in the Annual Report 1956–57 about the danger of unemployment amongst juveniles in industry have proved justified and, in consequence, the work of the Service has increased considerably… A further attempt was made during the year to persuade local employers to increase their intake of apprentices but without result.Referring to the procedure which has been used for many years by the visits to factories for prospective school-leavers to see local industry, the report said:Some employers are very reluctant to grant facilities for such visits in present circumstances since they are anxious not to give the impression that vacancies for young persons will be available.These are a few extracts to illustrate the attitude of employers to youth employment in an area which has less unemployment than the national average, and before the bulge has had any effect on the situation.
Other speakers have pointed out that the cost of this crisis, if it is not solved, is both economic and human. I feel that the Carr Committee did a valuable service in highlighting the economic cost of not taking advantage of the bulge, and also, at the same time, of the opportunity which the bulge has presented. Not only do they say that we have not enough skilled workers in the country at present, but they are reminding us that our economy will develop in the next century in such a way that we shall need a larger proportion of skilled workers than we have now.
The pattern of world trade is changing. Our economy must be more flexible, and we shall have to develop new skills. We shall have a higher proportion of elderly people and a smaller working population in proportion, which means that the working population will need to be more skilled and have a higher proportion of trained people than it had in the past. There will be a severe economic price to pay if we do not take the unique opportunity presented by the bulge and use it to train adequate numbers of skilled workers required.
I should like also to emphasise what was said on the human cost of unemployment among young people if it 1543 is allowed to persist or, indeed, to increase. It seems to me that a lot of nonsense is talked about modern youth, and that it is always the unusual and the criminal which is emphasised rather than the healthy normal aspects. At the same time, everybody would agree that adolescence is a testing period, with many problems, and that one of the worst things that can happen to a boy or girl after leaving school is to experience a period of unemployment, because thereby they are made to feel that they are not wanted in society. They have, after all, been at school, where they have been exhorted to work hard, and they hear people talking about the expensive education which they have had and reminding them how they must work to justify it. If, after that, they have to wait a very long time to find a job, it is a very frustrating experience, which can have the most dangerous results.
One other aspect of the matter has not been mentioned. For some boys and girls, it is a good thing that they try one job and do note like it, and then try another, and perhaps make two or three changes before they finally settle down. Not every boy and girl leaving school knows what he or she wants to do or is best fitted for, and part of the price we have to pay for this situation which is now developing is that it will become increasingly difficult, if not altogether impossible, to do that. Having got a job of some sort, the boy or girl will feel bound to hang on to it at all costs, because if he or she loses or leaves it, it may be many months before he or she finds anything else, and may have to take up something worse than they have before.
I return now to the theme of the speech of the hon. Member for Pollok. It seems to me that industry is not facing up to the challenge of or the advice given it by the Carr committee. Indeed, I have here a quotation from a speech made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour in Lancaster, at a "Training for Industry" conference some time last month, in which he was answering some criticisms, and in which he said:Some question the basis of these conclusions"—that is, the need for extra training—and say that the Carr committee budgeted for expansion whereas in 1958 the economy was contracting, and that automation would 1544 reduce the demand for skilled workers. Both of these statements are wrong.Further on, the hon. Gentleman said:It is precisely at a time of recession that the intake into apprenticeship must increase.There, I think, the hon. Gentleman is profoundly right.
If, in a time of recession, the intake into apprenticeships increases, it achieves two things. It reduces the unemployment at the time, and also provides a reservoir of skilled workers for later, when the economy will expand again. What I think he is saying is that there is something of a conflict between the long-term interests of the community and the short-term interests of industry and particular firms. The hon. Gentleman is asking firms to take a very long view, whereas inevitably, though perhaps wrongly, many take a short-term view, and say, "We cannot afford to do it, and will not do anything about it."
It seems to me that the Government's attitude in this situation should be as follows. First, their policy cannot succeed properly unless it is carried out against a background of an expanding economy. An expansion in our economy is the biggest single factor to make industry change its mind. I cannot go into the arguments about that—to do so might be out of order, especially if I attempted to turn this into a postcript to the debate on the Budget. It seems to me, however, that industry does not possess the confidence that expansion is about to begin and will continue which is necessary if it is to respond to the request which we have made to it about the training of workers. If there were an expanding economy and confidence that expansion would continue, the Government would have won four-fifths of the battle. Without this expansion, any other policies will produce meagre results.
What other policies are needed to follow up the expansion? First, the Government should have a lot more information. One thing to which the Carr Committee drew attention was the lack of statistics of apprenticeships and training schemes generally. There was no national register. National joint councils in some industries kept figures, but others did not. Some employers' organisations had the figures concerning federated firms, but not the figures relating to firms outside the federation. The whole picture was haphazard.
1545 A Government which is trying to plan the situation and trying to bring about an improvement should know where the main vacancies exist and where the pressure should be applied, both within industries and within areas. I am told that in Paris, one can go to the appropriate Government office and ask an official what are the prospects for the employment of young people in, say, Montelimar, in five years' time. The figures are turned up and one gets an answer industry by industry from the research organisation. Nothing of that sort exists in this country and it seems to me that it should be available.
I come next to the question of financial inducements and I should like to make a comment about the figure of £75,000 which is to be granted to the Industrial Training Council for, I understand, the recruitment and training of training officers. Since this is a once-for-all grant to be applied over a number of years and over the whole country, it appears to me to be very small. I am wondering whether, when we have a reply to this debate, we can be told how that figure is arrived at. Aid of this size can only scratch the surface of the problem. At least, that is my own impression. I should like to know from the Government spokesman how the figure was reached.
There is a lot to be said for applying to industry a financial reward in the form of tax remissions or something of that sort for training schemes combined, perhaps, with a general levy on firms to pay for the training schemes. It could be the sort of arrangement by which money is extracted from industry but is remitted back when it does the right sort of job. Many countries in Europe have tax remissions for training. I believe that in sow. countries the social insurance contributions for apprentices are paid by the State. There are many ways in which this help can be given. Indeed I am informed that the Parliamentary Secretary is taking the chair this weekend at an international seminar on these problems. I hope that he will take the opportunity to refresh himself on some of these ideas from other countries and see how far they might be applied here.
When that has been said, however, it seems to me also that some measure of 1546 compulsion is needed. This problem is part of the Labour Party's general case for greater public control over the economy of the country. Problems of this nature, which are so vital to our survival as an industrial nation, are the sort of problems which cannot be left entirely to industry. The Government must reserve to themselves some kind of control by which to insist on good standards and to bring the firms which are lagging behind up to the standards of the best firms.
The Industrial Training Council, which has started its work, should be asked not to devote too much of its time to apprenticeships. I am probably the last Member who should criticise people paying attention to apprenticeships. I share with the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr) the distinction of having heard my name mentioned several times during the debate, although, unlike the hon. Member for Mitcham, I have done nothing to deserve this distinction. The question of other forms of training than apprenticeship training should receive far greater emphasis. This point was well developed by my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu). I do not want to repeat his arguments, but they are of importance. The way in which industry is developing is blurring the old distinctions between skilled and unskilled occupations. All kinds of categories of skilled work are being introduced and they should have the form of training which is appropriate to them.
Another thing which, I hope, will be done by the Industrial Training Council is to devote a good deal of attention to the provision of apprenticeships and other forms of training for girls as well as for boys. Because of our need for increased skills in so many directions, we cannot possibly continue the attitude that we have had in the past of regarding this as almost solely a boys' problem and one which applies hardly at all to girls. The prospect of changing this attitude is rather academic if everybody is afraid of rising unemployment. If everybody is afraid of the bulge and of how we are to cope with the growing numbers of boys leaving school, we can hardly expect to make progress in dealing with the problem of the girls. Obviously, therefore, we are dependent upon an expansion of the economy so that people will have confidence that they can do something. If 1547 confidence is established, a big drive will be needed to extend technical education for girls.
I turn next to the position of disabled young people. The East Ham committee to whose report I have referred has had great difficulty in placing a total of nine young people—six boys and three girls—who were on the disabled persons' register. The report contains an expression of fear that with growing unemployment, firms will be increasingly unwilling to take disabled people over and above the numbers required by existing legislation. Two of the young people referred to in the report were still unplaced at the time the report was issued and they appear to present a permanent problem. I should like to know whether this is a general problem which is developing throughout the country and whether it is becoming more difficult to place disabled young people. If so, it is a particularly tragic example of the difficulties we face and I hope that this aspect will be watched carefully by the Government.
The present situation makes it urgent to do something as soon as possible to implement the 1944 Education Act in two respects: first, in raising the school-leaving age as soon as that can be done—although I do not underestimate the difficulties in the supply of teachers—and also in making a start as soon as possible in the provision of county colleges.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
It is not merely the additional teachers, but the additional classrooms, that would be required. Surely, that is one of the reasons for hoping that the building trade will have a rather better time in the future than some people now expect.
§ Mr. Prentice
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. I was abbreviating the difficulties simply because I did not wish to take up too much more time. In the present situation, there is added reason for trying to carry these things through as quickly as possible. When we speak of the need for greater skill in our working population, it is a question not only of technical skill, but of the need for a higher level of general education.
We should also remember this aspect. For most boys and girls, the jump from school to work is very abrupt. One week they are at school, the next week 1548 at work. This is a bad thing in two ways. It is bad from the educational point of view, because, knowing that this break is coming, the last few months of school life take on a rather unreal basis. The boy or girl is looking forward to being able to go out and earn money, to have the extra status of being a worker and to get out of school uniform. Education seems to stop and in a sense they feel that it has stopped for the rest of their lives, or at least many of them do.
If the transition were more gradual, if there is a period of, say, half-time education or education for two days a week, then it will be valuable, not only because of the extra academic work that is done, but also because it may give a different attitude towards education which would remain with a person throughout his life. Another important point is that it would ease the transition to working life and be less of a psychological shock than it is in many cases at present. If the Parliamentary Secretary can say anything about making a start in some areas with county colleges, that will be a most valuable addition to the debate.
This is a complex subject in which there are many aspects and each of us can select only one or two, but underlying the whole matter we on these benches feel that the Government should show a greater sense of urgency and a greater recognition that this country faces a very real crisis of large dimensions that requires much bolder planning than has been shown up to now.
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ Mr. R. P. Hornby (Tonbridge)
The hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) ended on a note upon which I am glad to start. I am sure that many of us share his view that we want to do all we can to blur the sharpness of the change from education at school to what I should like to call continuing education in industry. Also, I, for one, share the point which he made earlier, namely, that we are not talking about apprenticeships as something entirely separate from many other forms of training, both in the higher and lower ranges of skill in industry. I should like to refer to that point in a moment.
About eight years ago, a survey was published arising out of some social work conducted in Glasgow on the records of 1,300 schoolboys who left school in 1947 1549 and whose subsequent careers for three years thereafter were watched in great detail. I should like to quote one short passage from that survey:There can be but small cause for complacency in a community where, at age 17, 3 years after leaving school, one in four of the boys who left school at 14 is still in a stop-gap job with no clear idea of what his life work is to be; where less than half of them have undergone sustained training for work demanding skill and responsibility; where aimless shifting about from job to job is still characteristic of one boy in four; where three in four have never made use of the most obvious facilities for continued education—even in continuation classes—and about half have never had a church connection or joined any organised social group; and where the most regular leisure activity of 88 per cent. of them is the weekly visit to the pictures.As an hon. Member said earlier in the debate, we are short of facts and figures and we do not know to what extent such a picture as that is true today. We have made a good deal of progress in the social sphere. Housing is better, health is better and there has been a longish period of full employment in many parts of the country. Education is continuing for longer periods and more boys and girls are slaying on at school. Yet we cannot be by any means complacent, as almost every hon. Member has emphasised. We arc concerned with the transition from the shelter of school life to the changes and chances of adult life.
I should like to consider some of the problems, bearing in mind a background of four main points. First, I should like to deal with the size of the bulge coming out of the schools at present. The figure of 613,000 in 1956 will change to 929,000 in 1962 and will settle at about 740,000 by 1965.
Secondly, a point which has been emphasised again and again, the supply of skilled people is falling short of demand, even in areas where there is considerable unemployment. Skilled people are scarce and there are very few signs that industry is increasing its numbers of apprentices. The figures quoted by the Parliamentary Secretary show that between 1957 and 1958 there was, in fact, a slight decline, Thirdly, we are all convinced that the nation will need more and more skilled people if it is to earn its living. Fourthly, it should be emphasised that the majority of boys and girls are still leaving school at 15 years of age The vast majority of them are entering adult 1550 life at a time when they are still adolescents.
Against that background, I should like to pose the following questions. First, can industry absorb the growing number of school leavers? Secondly, have we the machinery to place young people not merely in a job, but in the right job? This is an important point. Boys and girls should not make frequent changes in the earlier stages of their career. We should ensure that we have the machinery to put our young people in jobs where they will be content and where they can stretch their abilities, but not over-stretch them, and so get the right person into the right job. Thirdly, having got people into a job, to what extent can we be sure that industry can train and manage its young people? Fourthly, to what extent can industry estimate its own needs and the needs of the country as a whole?
To deal with the problem of absorbing the bulge: I can see no numerical reason why industry should not be capable of doing this. I do not think we should think of school leavers in this context in isolation from the rest of the working population. The things that matter are the total working population, in the first place, and the prospects for production in the country as a whole, in the second place. That is the context in which school leavers either will or will not be able to find a job.
As to the size of the working population as a whole, it is expected that during the decade which we are considering, 1956 to 1966, the figures will rise by 800,000, an increase of 4 per cent. I should like to compare that, because it is comforting, with the figures for 1951–55, when the working population rose by about 1 million people, an increase of 4 per cent., which was easily absorbed. Labour at that time was scarce. I agree that the production figures are slightly different between the two periods.
Secondly, employment prospects are conditioned by our competitive power and ability to sell overseas. I shall not make a budget speech, but we must recognise that fact. I agree with the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr), that our prospects are all the better if we can be sure that enough skilled people will be 1551 available. We shall certainly help ourselves if we can improve the outflow of skilled people.
The next problem is how to place school leavers in the right jobs. Here I should like to say something about which little has been said so far, namely, the work of the Youth Employment Service, which is relevant to this debate. I have been very impressed by what I have been able to find out about its work.
It seems to me that the essentials are these. First, full exchange of information between, first of all, the Youth Employment Service and the schools on the one hand, and secondly, between the Youth Employment Service and prospective employers on the other. The second essential is the very high calibre we must have in our youth employment officers, because their job is not an easy one. It is a field job, involving contact with and winning the confidence of parents, teachers, young people leaving school, and the employers. This is not the sort of job which can be done except by properly skilled and able people.
I think that the system of the Youth Service by and large, the machine which it provides, is a good one and seems to work well; with the visits to the school and the interview with the child at the beginning of the last year; then, following from that, contacts with employers, partly interviews with individual employers, also through the youth employment committee, and, equally important, partly by the follow-up work of "open evenings", which take place when people come back three months or so after starting their first jobs and report on how they are getting on. The more we can know about how the Service is working and the number of people it manages to place the better. In Kent, about 60 per cent. of the school leavers are effectively placed in their first jobs by the Youth Employment Service.
On the question of placing people, I should like to make one or two comments which I think may be of interest to either my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education or my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service. The first is on the exchange of information between the youth employ- 1552 ment officers and the schools, on the one hand, and the employers on the other.
It is most important that reports from the school should be confidential, as they are. They should be. I would deplore, and I hope that my hon. Friends will do anything they can to deprecate, the practice which occurs from time to time of employers trying to demand the right to see school reports. There is the school report between the school and the Service and there is the other report to the parents. It seems to me that both those documents should be confidential, more especially the one to the parents. I would deplore any attempt by employers to be allowed to see those reports, because it would make them gradually less informative and confidential if that practice were to spread.
The next point on the placing of people in jobs is the fact that the Youth Employment Service shares the view that the age limits of the apprenticeship schemes are too rigid. I hope that something may be done to relax them. It is, of course, being done in some industries. One industry in my own constituency, the printing industry, already does relax those ages of entry. I would particularly like to see the remission granted for the length of apprenticeship of anyone to pass the G.C.E. and to take that course, because if that is not done there is at least to some extent a deterrent against staying on at school, which is something we are trying to encourage.
I should like to ask my hon. Frend what progress is being made in the analysis of jobs and what is being done to help the Youth Employment Service to do this work. I think it was mentioned in the Report for the years 1953 to 1956 of the National Youth Employment Council, when it suggested that more use might be made of standardised methods of examining and evaluating exactly what was required in selected industries and in the jobs there so that the Youth Employment Service might have a clearer idea of what exactly was going to be required of the people it was trying to place. I should like to know whether any progress has been made with this question of job analysis and what use it has been to youth employment officers.
I should like to ask whether it might not be practicable to change the date of school-leaving age from the end of the 1553 term in which the child reaches the age of 15 to the end of the fourth year of the secondary course. I think that this is sound from the educational point of view, bearing in mind that we are thinking of trades requiring greater skills and with better apprenticeships; and to secondary education it would be very welcome.
I know there are difficulties from the employment point of view. Employers certainly would dislike it because it would mean people from the schools coming on to the labour market on fewer occasions, so that their problem would therefore be all the more difficult. However, there is a serious educational advantage in trying to make that change if we can. I suspect that the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education may disagree on the point, but I would ask them whether they would try to find some way to make that change possible.
My next point concerns the problem of training management once we have got a young person into industry. I want to emphasise two things. First, I believe it is very much a problem of personality. I believe that what is all-important for a young person going into industry for the first time is the impression created on him by the first person who is supervising his work, the first person who is responsible for him. I think that impressing that fact on to anyone in charge of a training scheme is of vital importance to the success of this transition from school to employment.
Next—and this has been mentioned by very many people—is the problem of the small firm. I do think that if this is going to go right it is vitally important that in every firm, whatever its size, top management, the very top, should really make it their business to see that training schemes are of real importance and priority. Unless top management set the tempo this will not go right and we shall not get the results we want.
As to small firms, I should like to emphasise this, because in my area, for instance, the vast majority of the firms and the employers employ not 100 but, say, 25 or fewer. In their case, it is no good talking in terms of the personnel officer or of training schemes. We are talking now of firms with one person, perhaps two, under the age of 18. I 1554 realise that we are here up against the main difficulty of expanding apprenticeship schemes, but many suggestions have been made, notably by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham, which I do not want to go over again, but on which I want to make two points.
One relates particularly to the rural areas. I would particularly like to emphasise and support what my hon. Friend said namely, that the block release scheme is probably in many cases more suitable than the day release scheme, particularly in agriculture where the day release scheme at the busiest times of the year is just not on. One can understand the reason of the employers. It is much better to have block release schemes at the slack times of the year. I would suggest that the principle applies to many other industries where employment is seasonal.
One suggestion I would make. I believe, and I agree with the points which have already been made about it, that there is scope in enlarging the assistance which is given to the training of instructors. I think this would have as big an impact as anything which could be done. How that will be done I do not now attempt to go into, as other hon. Members wish to speak in this debate, but I believe that should be the next step forward.
In trying to get the tempo quickened, I think there is some scope for schools to develop a vocational bias, particularly in the last year in the secondary modern schools. I believe that this can help to fill in many of the gaps.
§ Mr. Hornby
I was thinking mainly in terms of the fifteen, sixteen and even seventeen-year-old pupils in secondary-modern schools. I do not want to see too narrow a specialisation too early in the schools. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has enabled me to make that point.
Then there is the very big problem of estimating future needs. If we have too few skilled people, as nearly all of us fear we are in some danger of having 1555 unless we give a major push to this enterprise, we shall hold back the nation's progress, lower its living standards and diminish its competitive powers. On the other hand, there is a danger that if we train too many people in particular groups we run the risk of frustration. I am more prepared to run that risk, and I see no danger of it at present. I think also that something has been achieved by training, whether or not we find the precise niche for that person. Something has been achieved in educating him and giving him a skill.
I was particularly interested in the point made earlier by the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) when he hoped that we might make it possible for skilled people to transfer more easily from one job to another. This will happen frequently in an age of technological changes, and if we do not give skilled people a chance of retraining we shall cause a great deal of frustration. In estimating future needs, I should like to emphasise again the point made already, that we know far too little and we need to accumulate a great deal of the information that presumably lies about somewhere.
We have the Carr Report, we have the Industrial Training Council, periodical reports from the National Youth Employment Council, and sections in the Ministry of Labour Annual Reports referring to the Youth Employment Service. Here are a great many reports covering some of the information we want. If we want to impress upon employers, in particular, and on the trade unions to what extent we fall short of present and future needs, we should try to bring all this information together in one report. I should like to know whether it is intended that a body like the Industrial Training Council, or any such reformed body, will be asked to produce an annual report in which it would give us this information. It would be a great help if that were done.
If we really feel the urgency of impressing upon industry the need to put its training schemes in the best possible order, there might well be a place for something like the document produced by the Ministry of Labour, entitled "Positive Employment Policies", dealing specifically with training schemes where they are well done, with large, medium and small firms and with schemes work- 1556 ing in both industrial and rural areas. This might help to get a little steam behind what we are trying to do.
There has been a great deal of agreement between the two sides of the Committee. We are all driving towards the same end. In the course of debate, many suggestions have been made which I hope will prove useful and which will enable us in the next five years to see a very substantial increase in the number of trained and skilled people in the country.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Miss Elaine Burton (Coventry, South)
I am glad to follow in the debate the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby), because he has referred to the Youth Employment Service. I was Chairman of the Select Committee on Estimates which reported recently on this Service. We spent almost a year seeing people who are very knowledgeable on the subject, including youth employment officers and representatives of the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education.
I think that all of us in the Committee, and certainly people outside who know about the Service, would wish a public tribute to be paid to it. I do not think that it has had enough recognition. This Service is vitally important to youth employment, and for that reason I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education is to wind up the debate. I know that he will have read the Select Committee's Report, and I should like to know what he feels about it.
First, I should like to say something about the general criticism of the Youth Employment Service made by a Treasury witness before the Select Committee that its scope is unduly wide and the service itself unnecessarily elaborate when considered in relation to the low unemployment rate among young people. This seemed to us quite untrue. It filled me with horror.
The actual words used by this witness must obviously be public knowledge since they are now on record. Answering a question as to whether or not the Service was necessary on its present scale, he said:But if you view it against the fact that there is now about 1 per cent. unemployment among juveniles, that there is a very large number of vacancies—much larger than the number of children or juveniles seeking employment—it does seem to us questionable whether 1557 the service may not be rather more elaborate than is really necessary for the essential purposes of the Act.We on the Select Committee felt that whilst that view might be held at a desk it was totally divorced from reality from the point of view of young people in the outside world.
I am sure that all hon. Members will agree when I say that we felt that the unemployment rate was quite irrelevant and that the true value of the Service lay in making the best use of the talents and abilities of our young people and that it should be judged by its success or failure in doing that. We all have to live with the Treasury, however, whichever party is in power, and it may be that remarks made in the Committee today may bolster up a demand, which I shall certainly make, for more money from the Treasury for this worthy service.
§ Miss Burton
I am sure that would be much better. As we all know, the Select Committee on Estimates cannot recommend increases in expenditure. It can only recommend decreases. Therefore, we on that Committee compromised by doing neither, because we certainly felt that increases were necessary.
There is another point on which I should be glad to have the comments of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education at the end of the debate. One of the problems of the Youth Employment Service, from the viewpoint of the people engaged in it, is the question of status. In giving evidence before the Select Committee, an officer of the National Association of Youth Employment Officers said that the association hadhad a continuing desire to be represented on the National Youth Employment Council.We were told that the matter had been raised several times but so far with no success.
Another point which the Association raised and one which I think is particularly important was that the Association had tried very hard to sponsor the establishment of a diploma for vocational guidance. I hold no particular brief for that diploma. We did not find out enough 1558 about it, but a witness said that the association felt that there wasa real need for a professional qualification and we had been unsuccessful over a period of many years in getting anyone to sponsor a proper qualification for youth employment officers.All members of the Select Committee regretted that there was no recognised diploma for youth employment officers, and they hoped that something might come out of this suggestion. We think that that would add immeasurably to their status.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
Without in any way being discourteous to this highly important body of people, if we were to agree to every diploma that was suggested to us in the course of the year the whole country would become a network of diplomas of one kind or another. Because we are sometimes rather cautious about this kind of request, it does not mean that we do not take it closely to mind.
§ Miss Burton
I think I said that I was not holding any brief for this particular diploma, but I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary not to be so anxious that indeed we get nowhere. There is always that danger.
The youth employment officers felt not only that they were getting nowhere but that they were going back, and perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary could give us some help as to what recognised diploma, I do not care which, there is to be for youth employment officers. It is only fair, if one suggestion is not accepted, to put forward another.
The following remarks came not from the Select Committee but from people on the job:But, frankly, we just have not got the staff and the organisation to do the job as we would wish to do it. I think we would say that information and advice in schools is sound—it could he better, but it is sound; vocational guidance within the limits of the job we do is good; placing in employment is restricted to some extent because we cannot visit all the employers we would like; and review of progress, which I think could be a vital factor in reducing wastage in further education and increasing the number of technologists, etc., we cannot do at all as we would like to do it because of our difficulties.They went on to say that they could not do this because they have not got sufficient workers. That is the point of my argument.
1559 They pointed out that one of the difficulties was the ratio of pupils to qualified vocational guidance advisers. Another difficulty was that a good deal of first-hand visits to employers was very necessary. We all accept that, but they went on to state that in times of pressure it was the visit of those advisers to the factories that went by the board. Those were the things that they had not got time to do. They felt that there was no answer to that except having more staff, which means more money, and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will comment on this.
I do not know how many hon. Members received a pamphlet from the Engineering Industries Association Group Apprenticeship. On page 6, the association speaks of local training committees. Does the Parliamentary Secretary know whether these local training committees are functioning properly, because I discussed this with the union in Coventry, which is of the opinion that these committees are not doing so? The union was also of the opinion that employers were not showing sufficient interest in these committees. I would be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary would deal with this point when he replies.
What steps have been taken to encourage employers to provide training schemes for boys and girls as distinct from the normal apprenticeship arrangements? I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary considers that is a matter for the Ministry of Labour, but I would be glad to hear what he has to say about it.
At a meeting of the British Productivity Association not long ago, reference was made to the importance of teachers visiting industry. The association said that one of the most important things had been the organisation of a series of visits to local factories by teachers, and the long-term objective was to have one teacher in each school who would have an adequate knowledge of industry. Can the Parliamentary Secretary say how far that proposal has been developed?
At the beginning of this year there was a Careers Festival in Coventry. It was the second one that we had had in the city, and it lasted some five days. I do not know whether other hon. Members have had experience of this kind 1560 of thing in their own constituencies, but it was of great interest as recently qualified young people were able to give first-hand reports of their jobs and how they were finding them. Without casting any aspersions on the older people, it was very useful to the young people to hear what these recently qualified young people themselves thought about it.
In January of this year, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour went to Coventry and spoke at a meeting of the Coventry Productivity Association, but his remarks were addressed to the country as a whole and not only to Coventry. He said this, which is also what we have been saying; and it will obviously have greater validity for the Government if I quote what was said by the Parliamentary Secretary:If firms are unwilling to take apprentices today because economic conditions are temporarily unfavourable, then it is the most certain way of missing the tide when the flow of economic expansion begins again.He went on to say thatthe present intake of craft apprentices was going to be wholly inadequate for future needs. The report of the Carr Committee on this situation…suggested that the shortage of skilled workers was going to get a good deal worse unless something was done quickly.The Parliamentary Secretary then went on to speak about small firms, about which we have heard a good deal tonight. In the Report of the Select Committee, it is interesting to note that the youth employment officers said that it was the smaller employer who could not offer good training facilities who was often unwilling to co-operate with the youth employment officers. It was not the larger firms who had sound personnel officers and training schemes. That information is from a totally different quarter, and provides additional evidence that it is the small firms which are the problem in this particular matter.
The Parliamentary Secretary went on to say:Unless employers associations take a lead in promoting such things as group apprenticeship schemes then very little is going to get done. The trade unions also had a great responsibility, and he hoped to see them actively demanding better training facilities and persuading their members to accept necessary changes.The unions in Coventry certainly do accept their responsibilities, and the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions has been very concerned about 1561 this. They have had several discussions on the question of the employment of young workers and they want jobs, as we all do, which will give scope for proper training where these young people will not be used as cheap labour or pushed into blind alley occupations.
I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education listened to a radio discussion in February, 1959, between Mr. Heginbotham, Chief Youth Employment Officer in Birmingham, and Mr. Jack Jones. the Regional Officer of the Transport and General Workers Union. The youth employment officer said that the trade unions would have to reexamine their apprenticeship policies in the light of changed conditions and allow a more generous ratio of apprentices to skilled craftsmen. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary could get some information from the Ministry of Labour and give us the answer when he winds up the debate. The trade union representative, Mr. Jack Jones, challenged that viewpoint, and I think it is something which we ought to get straight. He said:On the contrary, it is the employers who are unwilling to bear the cost of training apprentices who are responsible for this lack of apprenticeships. In a few industries there is a fixed ratio of apprentices to skilled men. Printing, boiler making and shipyard work. There is hardly any in the general engineering industry.I wonder whether the Parliamentary Secretary can clear that up. Where does the blame lie for the restriction on the intake of apprentices into industry? I think we should like to have that settled.
We all try to get what figures we can on these matters. Obviously only the Government Front Bench are able to obtain them relatively easily. But I think it true that every year since the war about 640,000 boys and girls have reached the age of 15. With the difference in the rise in the birth rate at the end of the war, I am told the number reached this summer will be 776,000. In 1961 it will be 857,000, and at the peak in 1962 the figure will be 929,000. Just over half are boys.
Industry provides less than 100,000 apprenticeships a year, so if the figures given to me are correct, A means, roughly, that there will be an apprenticeship for one out of every three boys. Obviously, this is not enough if we are to have an 1562 expanding industrial effort, as we hope. The position will become worse. In 1958, as my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) said, the number of apprenticeships available actually declined. One of our most skilled industrial correspondents, with whom I discussed the matter, said that he felt that if the present number of apprenticeship opportunities did not increase by about 35,000 a year only one in every four boys would be trained as skilled workers. In 1962 the ratio would be one in five. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to comment on that, but the prospect of only one in five boys obtaining a skilled apprenticeship in 1962 is very alarming.
We all enjoyed the speech of the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr), and I am sure that all hon. Members have read with great interest the Report of the Committee over which he presided. Out of that Report came the Industrial Training Council, on which there are representatives of employers, the unions, nationalised industries, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and National Service. The Council meets four times a year. I do not believe—and people with whom I have discussed youth employment matters over the last few years do not believe—that this Council is doing an effective job. I was interested to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton suggest the reorganisation or reconstruction of that Council.
The criticisms I have met have not been directed against the members of the Council, but simply against the fact that here were busy people with many other jobs to do who met four times a year and who could not possibly make constructive and energetic proposals about a matter of urgency. I hope we shall hear more from the Parliamentary Secretary.
Two points were made in the Carr Report. The hon. Member for Mitcham himself said that the greatly increased number of young people represented an additional supply of potential skill which we cannot allow to be wasted. Secondly—and what I am about to say I consider even more important— these young people will expect—we think they have a right to expect—that their opportunities for training for skilled employment should not be adversely affected because they happen to have been born at a particular time.
1563 What about the young people themselves? There is a sense of frustration among young people who cannot get jobs. I have no desire to hark back to the past, but in the 1930s in South Wales I saw young people who could not get jobs and merely propped up street corners after leaving school. Incidentally, the ones I knew got jobs when the war came. No one who has seen that once wishes 10 see it again. In Coventry, perhaps not as much as in other places, we have seen the same sights again within the last few months. We have seen young people without jobs. These young people with whom I have talked feel that they wish to get somewhere in their work. I hold no brief for those who are always decrying the younger generation. I think that the youngsters possess guts and ability and want to get on. If anything is wrong, it is that we adults have given them this sense of frustration.
I know that the T.U.C. agrees that many young workers are disappointed at the lack of adequate training and opportunities for training, and also they are often gravely disappointed at the apparent lack of interest shown by management and by supervisers. One of the real problems is mass production work. I do not know whether it is right to say that older people do not mind doing mass production work, but I do not think some do. But youngsters dislike it. A youngster who gets a job and is put on mass production work soon finds himself weary at the thought that the future for him consists solely in doing this one job, one minute operation which he learned in the first few weeks of his employment. The thought of spending the rest of his life at this employment promotes something even worse than a sense of frustration. It gives him a grudge against society. I think that to be an important matter in the attitude of young people towards life today, which is something we must examine.
If this continues and so few apprenticeships are available, if young workers have to accept this limited manual dexterity and have no opportunity to develop their potentials, I believe that they will come into conflict with the rest of society and try to reassert themselves and to show their own individuality. Any hon. Member who has ever been a teacher or had anything to do with welfare work knows 1564 that if one has a difficult youngster to deal with it is best to give him something to do. Sometimes in the House if an hon. Member proves difficult he finds his way on to the Front Bench and becomes very nice and quiet. [Laughter.] I can only suggest that we might bear in mind that if these youngsters are not absorbed in the jobs they are given to do they will find other outlets simply because they think the future is disappointing. Responsibility for that will lie with us and not with the young people.
I was interested recently to read of some inquiries made of young people throughout the country, and one of the questions asked of them was, "What contributes most to a good job?" I doubt very much if adults anywhere in the country would have given better or more balanced replies. In view of what we hear about "Teddy boys," I think we ought to look at some of the replies. To this question, "What contributes most to a good job?" 24 per cent. said, "Good wages"; 23 per cent. said "Interesting work to do"; and 16 per cent. said "Pleasant people to work with."
Wherever the blame may lie, I believe the evidence has been overwhelming tonight that the present system of training young people does not meet the full needs of industry, nor of the country, nor of the young people. That is accepted by everyone, and I think that the Parliamentary Secretary must accept it. Boys and girls who want to learn and are qualified to learn are denied the opportunity, and they are looking to us to give a lead. I should like the Minister tonight to pay further tribute to the Youth Employment Service by emphasising its importance and thereby increasing its status. I should like to put in a plea to the Government on behalf of all the people working in that service to see that more money is forthcoming for it.
I noted what the Parliamentary Secretary said about a £75,000 grant to the Industrial Training Council, and one is glad about that. I wonder whether the Parliamentary Secretary would consider a suggestion that the Industrial Training Council, or some similar organisation, should be asked to produce a plan for expanding the apprenticeship intake and give a date by which this should be done. In the Industrial Training Council we have representatives of the employers and the unions, and it seems to me that 1565 nothing definite is being put forward. America, Germany and France have all done more in research and forward-looking projects for apprenticeships than we have. This is urgent; and it is important.
I have found that among all those connected with youth employment problems—and this has no connection with party politics—whether it is locally in Coventry or nationally, there is a strong feeling that the Government have not treated this problem with sufficient energy and sufficient urgency: and no one will be more pleased tonight if I am wrong and the Government can prove that they have done that.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Miss Joan Vickers (Plymouth, Devonport)
I am glad to have the opportunity to speak after the hon. Lady the Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton). I have read in detail the Report of the Committee of which she was, if I may say so, a very able and fairly strict Chairman. I think that that helped the Committee to get on with its work. I was also encouraged by what she said about rebels sometimes getting to the Front Bench, having recently been in that category myself.
I should like to divide my speech into two sections. First, I should like 'to bring to the attention of my hon. Friend the difficulties that we have in Plymouth with regard to the employment of young people whose numbers are above the national average, and then make a general comment on the situation and one or two suggestions.
It is said that Government has only one duty and that is to secure the social welfare of the State, and I would say that having a job is part of that social welfare. Unless one has the security of a job, everything else goes by the board. That is why I think this debate so intensely important and I am very glad that I was able to catch your eye, Sir Charles, and take part in it.
The City of Plymouth is in rather an exceptional category. Because the majority of the people work in the dockyard—it has been a naval dockyard for over three hundred years—Plymouth offers very few other means of employment. We have had only five new factories since the war, employing just over 4,000 people. We have, 1566 however, something that is extremely precious. We have above the national average number of young people. In view of our ageing population, which has been already mentioned today, I think that the young people of Plymouth, if given a chance, could contribute much to the future prosperity of the country.
I should like to give a few figures about the school-leaving age. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) mentioned the new towns. The population of Plymouth does not compete very well with the population of the new towns. In 1959, we have 2.966, which is 50 per cent. of the population of Plymouth when the national average is only 27 per cent. In 1961, we shall have 73 per cent. when the national average will be 40 per cent. In 1962, we shall have 86 per cent. when the national average is 52, and in 1967 we shall have an average of 49 per cent. when the national average will be only 19 per cent. Therefore, we have a very difficult problem.
Over and above that, we have twice the national average of unemployment for adults. I would agree with the hon. Lady for Coventry, South when she said that young people get frustrated if they have not jobs. They become discontented and unhappy and, maybe, lazy—one cannot blame them—and they also tend to turn to mischief if they have nothing to employ them.
We had a meeting, called by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, and the attendance was better than in the case of several other meetings referred to by the right hon. Member for Blyth. Fifty-seven people turned up to discuss the problem. We formulated seven resolutions. I do not want to mention them all, but I hope to give the information which I have to the Parliamentary Secretary later.
We felt, like some other hon. Members do, that we must have an increase in day release schemes for industry, but we should like to do it on a weekly or perhaps fortnightly system. We felt that we must have extended courses of education in the secondary schools, because we have a great number of young people. We should like to have provision for pre-apprenticeship courses in technical colleges. In Plymouth, we have excellent technical colleges which could be very well used for this purpose 1567 We want to continue to provide training for young people over school age who cannot find suitable employment. We think that this could be perfectly well done in the schools. We want to increase facilities for the training of girls under the age of 18 as nurses. There is a great wastage now in young girls having to wait until they are 18 to take a nursing course. We should also like to see more industries and expansions of the existing ones.
At present the amount paid in unemployment and assistance benefits in Plymouth has risen considerably. In 1956–57 it was £2,410 and in 1957–58 it rose to £5,726. I feel sure that this money could be put to more use in training young people for some form of work. It is of no benefit to them at all just to receive National Assistance and still remain idle.
It has been mentioned today that there is a great need for skilled workers. I notice that today there are nearly 200,000 unfilled places. If we are to get jobs for these young people we require the skills of trained youngsters. I think that this will become increasingly difficult with automation and new techniques in industry and, therefore, I was very interested to hear the new approach to apprenticeship mentioned by the right hon. Member for Blyth.
The hon. Lady the Member for Coventry, South was quite correct in saying that we shall need 35,000 extra places and only one in five of the young people will be skilled, at the present rate, by 1962. I had the opportunity of visiting Germany, in a Parliamentary delegation, and I was interested in the communal workshop system run by the chambers of craft and commerce. I wonder whether we could have more co-operation with chambers of commerce to run these courses, perhaps using technical colleges. France has more than 1,000 apprenticeship centres, and firms which cannot train boys themselves contribute to the upkeep of those centres. I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary might consider that idea, also.
Britain is a country of a great many small firms. That is particularly true of the West Country. I hope that we shall hear more about group training schemes, particularly those for up to 300 apprentices. I believe there are about 30 of those at present. Another point I put to 1568 the Parliamentary Secretary about firms employing 500 or more employees is that they are asked to take 3 per cent. of disabled persons. During this period I should like all firms with more than 500 employees to take 3 per cent, of young people. Those firms might be given the tax relief mentioned by several hon. Members for training apprentices. It is absolutely essential to get these apprentices trained.
We have the particular difficulty in Plymouth that the dockyard is the main employer. More than 20,500 are employed in the dockyard and the present intake of young people, not all of whom are apprentices, is only 2,012. I suggest that my hon. Friend should make representations to the Admiralty asking that the number of apprentices in the dockyards should be increased. The Admiralty has facilities and accommodation and the technical people to teach apprentices. I am not suggesting that every one of those apprentices should be taken into the dockyard when they finish their training. That would not be practicable, but it would give them a complete knowledge for work elsewhere and in that way the problem in the West Country could be relieved.
I refer, as the hon. Lady did, to the Report of the Select Committee on Estimates, "The Youth Employment Service And Youth Service Grants." I wish to direct attention to page 118, paragraph 25, "Suggestions made by Club Leaders". There, very important suggestions are made about further co-operation between youth employment officers and clubs. Many young people go to clubs when they first enter on their jobs and they turn to their club leader for help and advice, but it would appear that there is not sufficient co-operation. The Report says, in sub-paragraph (b):The feeling among certain leaders about the importance of the youth employment officer's visits to schools taking place at an earlier date emerges strongly.From my experience I think that if employment officers could go earlier to schools and also visit clubs, that would be of great help to young people. The Report strongly emphasises that there is a need for a more plentiful supply of literature. It would be of great advantage if there were more literature which the young people could take home from the 1569 schools and clubs to discuss with their parents. The co-operation of the parents is absolutely essential.
Reading the Report, I noticed that there was a division of authority between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education over the employment of Youth Employment Service officers. I noticed, also, that there was a considerable difference in the amount officers are paid. It appears from the Report that those employed by local education authorities have from £600 to £650 and those employd by the Ministry of Labour have from £650 to £725. I understand that that is considered satisfactory. but I do not consider that either of those rates is sufficient for the skilled people needed in this service.
I was also interested to see on page 245 of the Report, in paragraph 13:The question whether the qualifications for youth employment officers are at present too low does not arise, for the simple reason that no officially recognised qualifications exist.I think it extremely important that they should have officially recognised qualifications. I understand that about 800 have degrees. I do not think we shall get the right people into this service or encourage more to come into it unless it is put on a better basis. I agree with the hon. Lady that recruitment is difficult if the matter is not put on a better basis.
I do not think anyone has mentioned that far more contact is needed with parent-teacher associations. A great many districts have such associations. If youth employment officers could meet them more often for discussions with parents it would be better for the careers of the young people concerned.
I notice that in its evidence to the Select Committee the T.U.C. quoted what the King George's Jubilee Trust said in "Citizens of Tomorrow". The suggestion was that there should be a statutory obligation on all employers to report to the Youth Employment Service when they engage or discharge workers under 18, the proposed arrangements for training and the opportunities available for further education. We have heard a lot this evening about young people changing their jobs. I recognise that they may need to change their jobs from time to time, but I think, as is suggested in "Citizens of Tomorrow", that more attention should be paid to referring to 1570 the Youth Employment Service such problems for young people under 18.
I felt that the Parliamentary Secretary perhaps took too lightly this question of the bulge, because we know only too well that people are marrying much younger these days and having children much earlier. As a result of medical research and facilities, more children are surviving. I do not think that the bulge will decline to the extent that some hon. Members have suggested today. I believe that there will be a general increase in the population, which we should welcome because we are always pointing out that we have an ageing population. We should not plan just for the years of the bulge, but for much further ahead, otherwise we shall be in the same difficulty again.
Although I agree with much of the Carr Committee's Report, I regret that there was not a woman on the Committee. In paragraph 31 of the Report we read about the attitude towards the employment of girls, with the comment,There is scope for extending the training of girls for what are generally regarded as women's occupations".I suggest that as girls have a similar education to boys, they can also undertake other work, apart from what are generally known as "women's occupations". They have the education and the right to jobs in competition on equal footing with boys. I hope that we shall get away from thinking only of those jobs which have been considered as good enough for women. I should mention that in paragraph 30 the report adds thatGirls should not be discouraged from undertaking craft apprenticeshipsand I hope that far more attention will be paid to that paragraph than to the other paragraph which I read.
I recognise that in some districts, possibly including the West Country, young people, and especially boys, may have to be more mobile. We have a saying that if one cannot get a job in the West Country one has to go up the line". This will be very hard on many families, because a smaller paypacket will be taken into the home. I hope that training schemes will be introduced for young people, because if they have the skills they can obtain jobs in other towns. I should also like to see schemes which aid them in going to other towns and provide a better system of lodgings or 1571 hostels there, because in certain areas I recognise that it may be impossible to employ the entire local population.
I asked a headmaster whether boys who finished their education in his grammar school found difficulty in obtaining employment. He replied, "No, because they are willing to go anywhere". We do not want to export all our young people from the West Country, but we realise that a percentage will probably have to leave for other areas, but they cannot do so unless they have training in the necessary skills. I make a plea for that tonight.
In conclusion, I want to ask a question about the Industrial Training Council. I do not think that it meets frequently enough. I believe that it meets only once every three months. I would like to know whether they can ask their committee to visit areas where unemployment is more than twice the national average and whether they would concentrate upon sending training officers to such areas as Teignmouth, where we have very few industries. This may be difficult. Would they also work out a group scheme for areas like that, in order to help us?
I shall be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary will answer the points that I have put to him. I hope that the debate will stimulate the Government into finding more work for the people of this age group.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Moss (Meriden)
I agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Miss Vickers) that the problem of the increasing number of school-leavers in the years ahead may be taken too lightly, but not after this debate. The debate was begun upon a very high level by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) and was continued on that level by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour.
I welcome the announcement made by the Parliamentary Secretary that the unemployment figures among young people have probably been considerably reduced by now, and also his statement that the bulge makes up the deficiency. At the same time, I remind him that the bulge represents a challenge to the country which may not be met. I agree with the Parliamentary Secretary that economic 1572 expansion is necessary if these young people are to be provided with the necessary skills. There are many points in the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary upon which I would have liked to comment, but there is not sufficient time. I simply say how pleased I am that the grant in aid is to be made to the Industrial Training Council, to further the appointment of training officers.
The fundamental principle of the whole problem seems to be stated in paragraph 8 of the Report of the Carr Committee, and in this one sentence:We cannot have skilled workers tomorrow unless we are prepared to train them today.We have to consider the extent of the problems and the methods by which it can be solved. The hon. Lady referred to the problem in Her Majesty's Dockyard at Devonport. I noticed that on 4th March she got a dusty answer when she asked the Admiralty that the number of apprentices should be increased, in view of the increasing number of school-leavers, a point which she has emphasised tonight. The reply which she received was:…we cannot undertake to enter more than we need."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 423.]That is precisely the reply which might be got from thousands of private firms when asked to train apprentices for which they do not see the need. It has been stated over and over again that firms will be asked to accept apprentices in excess of what they think their needs will be. The Post Office gave a similar answer when asked whether it would accept an increasing number of trainees. The Assistant Postmaster-General replied:We have to watch that we do not overload ourselves with more apprentices than we can usefully employ."—[0FricIAL REPORT, 18th March, 1959; Vol. 602, c. 381.]If private industry is to take the same view, we will not solve the problem of providing the skilled workers of tomorrow.
The number reaching the age of 15 years will be 929,000 in 1962, and will not thereafter decrease to the level of 1956. In 1962, the increase will be 52 per cent. over the 1956 level; in 1967, it will still be nearly 20 per cent. above; and, in 1971, it will be 25 per cent. higher. Moreover, the peak will be reached at different times for different 1573 ages. For those of 16 years of age it will be reached in 1963, when the increase will be 78 per cent.; for the 17-year-olds it will be reached in 1964, when the increase will be 106 per cent., and the number of 18-year-olds will reach their peak in 1965, when the increase will be nearly 110 per cent. All this will coincide with the ending of National Service and, presumably, with the increasing application of automatic processes in industry.
Nor will the numbers be evenly spread geographically. I understand that Scotland will have an increase of just over 30 per cent., which is below the national average, and that the Welsh increase will also be below the national average. On the other hand, London and the South-East, the Eastern counties and the adjacent Midland counties will have increases in the numbers of school-leavers above the national average. There is, therefore, local variation in the incidence of this problem. That argues that our approach will have to be flexible and, to some extent, based on mobility as between one area and another.
There will be differences in timing as well as in extent and distribution. In some places the peak will be reached before 1962 and, in others, after. In Birmingham, for example—where conferences are already being held to study this problem—the peak for the school-leavers of 15 comes this year, and for the total number of school-leavers of 15 and over it will be in 1962. It is these increasing numbers of school-leavers that both present a problem and provide an opportunity, and the method is that the setting up of the Industrial Training Council whose functions can be described from one sentence in paragraph 87 of the Carr Committee's Report as being…to help, encourage and, if necessary, exhort.As to the results, there was an article in The Times of 16th February entitled "Short-Sighted," which stated that up and down the country firms were reporting queues of youngsters waiting for apprenticeships. In the Times Educational Supplement of 13th February there appeared an article entitled "Lost Boys", from which I quote as follows:At the end of the year a Coventry engineering firm was reported to have interviewed 150 suitable school children, already preselected for 20 apprenticeships, The story is typical".1574 That sort of thing has caused alarm in the minds of many people, who fear that we may approach this problem too slowly, and arrive at a solution too late.
I want to impress upon the Minister of Labour that this opportunity must be taken now, or it will be missed. I have spent many years in education and several years on the technical side of education, having been associated with apprentices, craftsmen and workers who were seeking ordinary National Certificates or Higher National Certificates. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that, if the opportunity is not taken when people are young, it becomes infinitely more difficult later on in life to do that which could have been done easily in earlier years and almost impossible to remedy the mistakes made then. That is why this opportunity must be taken now. It will not present itself again. It is in the national interest. It is a question of national interest and survival that these skilled workers should be available in the years to come.
The chairman of the Industrial Training Council seems to be optimistc about what the outcome will be. In another place, on 11th March, he said that employers, with the support of the trade unions, were ready to train more workers than they really needed and that this principle had been accepted by the British Employers' Confederation.
On 5th November, 1958, the chairman made his point of view perfectly clear. He said that if we do not take the advantage which this increasing number of school leavers will give uswe are going to build up a further discontented heap of young people with no skills, a drug on the market.It was the view of the chairman of the Industrial Training Council that industry would need to take 50 per cent. more recruits than they have been taking until now. He said:It is a simple job; it is not for all time, only for a short period; and provided there is the will it is a perfectly possible job."— [OFFICIAL. REPORT, House of Lords, 5th November, 1958; Vol. 212, c. 246.]I come from the Midlands. On my left hand, so to speak, is the great City of Coventry, which is now trying to seize a part of my constituency, which I hope to prevent. On my right hand, is the great City of Birmingham, which is trying to do the same at the other end, which I also hope to prevent. I live in a part 1575 of the country which is acquainted with the problems of apprenticeship and the necessity of having in firms skilled workers who are loyal to their firms and capable of producing goods of high quality for sale on the home market and for export, and especially to the North American dollar market.
We have also in the Midlands many small firms and it has been extremely difficult to get small firms to play their part in training. This is the best way to tackle the problem. I do not think that the large firms will present much of a problem, but the smaller firms will. In Technical Education, for February, 1959, Sir Willis Jackson is stated to be of the opinion that the best line of approach is for small firms which never took on apprentices before to take them on now. He advocates group training schemes and suggests that technical colleges should be provided for full-time apprenticeship courses or that local authorities should set up special apprenticeship training centres.
I have raised this matter in the House more than once. I have never suggested that the setting up of apprenticeship training centres by local authorities is a method to be applied uniformly throughout the country, but I believe that we ought not to look at the problem as though it were uniform everywhere. There are local variations, and we must be prepared to apply different remedies in different localities as circumstances permit.
I regret exceedingly that I cannot go any further tonight. I have been told that it will be necessary for me to sit down soon. I shall, therefore, run over briefly one or two ideas about which I intended to speak.
The Government should consider how they can help the setting up of group apprenticeship schemes, joint training centres and pre-apprenticeship courses, encouraging block release where it is appropriate for further education. The Government ought to consider how they can strengthen the Youth Employment Service, if only because apprenticeships are becoming more selective. The Central Youth Employment Executive is already sending out instructions that youth employment officers should tell 1576 young people that their qualifications will need to be higher if they are to be accepted for apprenticeships.
I had intended to say something about the Industrial Training Council itself. In view of the lack of time, I shall content myself by saying how glad I am that a grant in aid is being made to it. The Government should seriously consider whether it is possible to give financial assistance to firms to encourage them, if they have taken on too few or have taken on none at all, to take on apprentices. There is no time to be lost.
As The Times said on 24th June last year:Unassisted, the small firms will not respond. Some of them may not even hear the call.This is a national problem, a problem of national survival, and the Government will have the support of Members on both sides for anything they can do to provide the skilled workers who will sustain the economy of a society increasingly based upon scientific techniques.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)
During the debate, one hon. Member at least mentioned the sort of atmosphere that we should attempt to create if we are to put boys into the best type of conditions in which to serve their apprenticeships. My mind went back to the first day when I began to serve my apprenticeship as a boy of 14. My first job was to go round and collect the brew cans. I went to one old fitter who looked at me and said, "You are not going to stay at this game, are you, sonny?". I said that I certainly should; I wanted to learn the trade. He said, "Trade? This is a ruddy disease, not a trade". An atmosphere can be created in different ways. That was a few years ago, but it has always remained in my mind as an indication of something which we should avoid when initiating youngsters into the mysteries of apprenticeship.
The Parliamentary Secretary has given us some extremely important figures today. He pointed out that the numbers entering apprenticeships in 1957 were 95,184, whereas in 1958 they were 93,212. In other words, in a year in which the bulge was beginning to show in increased numbers of school-leavers, the numbers taking apprenticeship courses were, in fact, being reduced. To me, 1577 that is a most alarming situation. I knew some of the figures for the engineering industry for 1957. I knew that in that respect the number of apprentices going into the engineering, shipbuilding, electrical goods and vehicles industries were falling, and the proportion by which they are falling seems to be about the same as the fall which the hon. Gentleman announced in the general scheme of apprenticeships today.
Therefore, I very much agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mr. Moss) was saying—that this is an issue upon which so much depends. When we see that happen in the year 1958, when the effects of the increased numbers of school-leavers were being seen, we realise that all that has been done up to now has resulted in a drop in the number of boys who are going into apprenticeships. That is the background against which this debate takes place.
I put it to the Government that merely to give us suggestions that the employers ought to do this or that in such conditions is not good enough. We believe that there has been ample time for employers of good will who intended to do something about this problem to have done so, and that so far they have shown a singular lack of initiative in taking the necessary steps to meet this great crisis.
The hon. Gentleman made an announcement that the Government intend to make a grant—a "once-for-all" grant, I think he described it—of £75,000 for a limited number of years so that we may have more and better training development officers. There are a number of points about that which, necessarily, he could not give us today, but on which one would like more details, and if the Parliamentary Secretary could give us a more detailed statement about it it would be very welcome. But the offer was made conditional on industry itself contributing a further £75,000 towards it, from which I take it that if those industries which use skilled labour fail to find a further £75,000 the Government contribution will be withheld.
I asked the hon. Gentleman how the Government were to try to ensure that the whole of the firms which use skilled labour will make some contribution to it. I pointed out that there are a number 1578 of firms which can always be relied upon to do a first-class job of work in this matter, but that there are also a large number of black sheep who will never do anything. It is quite unfair to expect the willing horse to do all the work, while shirkers refuse to meet their responsibilities.
The £75,000 is merely a token payment. When we look at the great problems now facing us in these industries, we realise that £75,000 over a period of years cannot possibly of itself make much difference to the quality of training. We, for our part, are extremely disappointed in that. We had hoped that the Government would be able to make a more imaginative approach to the problem and especially to make it conditional upon some parts of the industry paying the same sort of figure as the Government are paying.
We are extremely disappointed that that is the only contribution which the Government intend to make to this problem. Added to what the Parliamentary Secretary has said about the decline in numbers taking out apprenticeships, we feel that the gravity of the situation is such that it is necessary for my right hon. and hon. Friends to divide the Committee on this issue at the end of the debate.
There is a grave lack of statistics in connection with the problem. This is one of the factors which limit us in our ability to get down to a proper analysis of the matter. We know, however, that we are now in the first phase of the bulge coming from the schools and that the numbers of school leavers will increase by 316,000 between 1956 and 1962.
In reviewing the debate, there are a number of points upon which the Committee has been in agreement. We agree, for example, that the ratio of school-leavers taking out apprenticeships is far too small. This has been stressed by hon. Members opposite just as it has been stressed from this side of the Committee. Between now and 1962, the number of 15-year-olds will rise from 712,000 to 929,000. We agree that the existing facilities for apprenticeship training are inadequate in quantity and, in many cases, in quality too, and that there is urgent need for a large increase in the numbers of young scientists and technologists, many of whom must come from the ranks of the apprentices.
1579 Many references have been made to the Carr Committee's Report, on page 3 of which it is stated:We realise that there are some areas in which the incidence of the 'bulge' may create employment problems, and we understand that this is a matter to which the Ministry of Labour is at present giving attention.The Committee reported in December, 1957. We would like to know the result of the attention that the Ministry of Labour has been giving to the problem since December, 1957. We have heard the figures which the Parliamentary Secretary has given today. If they are the result of the special attention which the Ministry has been paying to the problem, they are extremely disappointing to us all.
In these matters, one often tends to ignore the feelings of the young people themselves. We tend to become academic in our discussion of these matters. To me, therefore, it was a great pleasure when Mr. Carron invited me, a few weeks ago, to go along to listen to the deliberations of the A.E.U. National Youth Committee at Eastbourne. I should like to give to hon. Members some of my reflections from what I heard on that occasion.
One boy, for example, informed that Committee that when he first started his tuition it cost him four weeks' wages to buy the requisite materials. He also knew of apprentices who had given up studying for their Higher National Certificate because they simply could not afford to carry on with their studies. Another boy told us that as a Higher National student himself, his technical equipment cost him £8 per year and that in his first year alone, while taking home 30s. a week, he had to pay out £10 for drawing instruments and initial equipment. These are clear cases where employers should assist apprentices in purchasing their equipment. After all, the employers will benefit greatly from the skill of these boys and it is wrong that so many of them should refuse to assist in the purchase of equipment.
On the question of redundancy, the A.E.U. Youth Committee itself gave us many instances of apprentices being made redundant at 18 and 19 years of age. A case from Manchester in which a number of apprentices were paid off within a few months of completing their apprenticeship was quoted. When an appren- 1580 tice signs his indentures, he signs for five years. Although he is bound himself for those five years, his employer can dismiss him at any time during those five years, despite the fact that he is learning his trade. I should have thought that there is obvious unfairness when a youth can be dismissed under those conditions. When that kind of thing happens, surely the Ministry itself could offer youths two days a week at technical college, otherwise the skill which they have learned will be wasted.
To quote a resolution of that Youth Committee:This Annual Youth Conference is gravely disturbed by the non-application by most employers of the agreed method of training of apprentices. We request Executive Council to press the Employers' Confederation to have the term of the Recruitment and Training of Juveniles Agreement applied by their members' firms to ensure a general improvement in apprenticeship training standards.The impression is often given that the vast majority of firms are meeting their obligations, but it is somewhat alarming to hear boys working under these conditions telling us through their resolution what the position really is.
As I have said, I know that the education and training facilities of many large firms are a credit both to themselves and to the nation, but it is very little encouragement to them if other firms not only do not train their own people, but entice employees away from firms which have trained them at a time when they can be useful. That is private enterprise gone completely mad.
A further consideration in the matter of the ability of firms to train apprentices is that during the post-war period the wages of apprentices have risen at a far greater pace than the wages of qualified workers. It is, therefore, now a dearer proposition to employ apprentices than it was in the days when they received a mere pittance. There is also the cost to the employer of the apprentice attending technical college one day per week.
I appreciate that these are some of the reasons why certain small firms refuse to train apprentices, but I believe that their attitude in refusing to join the joint apprenticeship schemes which are open to all firms, whether their financial circumstances are good or bad, is deplorable. This is the background against which the Government still argue that industry 1581 must be responsible for training, while they themselves seek no powers to force firms to play their part in producing the necessary apprentices.
Mention has been made from both sides of the Committee of a more flexible approach from the trade unions in the starting age of apprentices. I agree that this is a most important point. I believe that there is scope for more flexibility. Discussions are now taking place within the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions to that effect.
I must point out one thing which has caused hesitancy in this respect. In days not long ago, one can remember young married men of 24 and 25 years of age, sometimes with two or three children, who were employed on apprentice rates. That kind of thing was bringing actual poverty of a very extreme type indeed, and that is one reason why the unions are hesitant now in this respect. There is scope here for employers and unions agreeing to the need for more flexibility to try to meet the question of the payment of young men when they are over 21 years of age, who at that stage may not actually have completed their apprenticeships.
Then there is the position of the dilutees. Many thousands of people came into industry as dilutees and still are engaged in skilled work. The agreement permits the skilled rate to be paid to dilutees after six months, whereas an apprentice over 21 can get only the apprentice rate. Here is an obvious anomaly which needs ironing out.
I believe that the most important recommendation of the Carr Committee, which has been discussed widely today, was that in paragraph 18 on page 6:We consider that as a general principle for the future, the existing division of responsibility between Government and industry for the education and training of apprentices should be maintained. The efforts of the Government should be directed to the expansion and improvement of the facilities for technical education, while the responsibility for the industrial training of apprentices should rest firmly with industry.I believe that it is upon that central point of our approach to this matter that there lies the main difference between the two sides of the Committee. Indeed, while saying what I have just read out, the Carr Committee goes on to say:Existing facilities for apprenticeship training are inadequate in quantity and, in some cases, in quality as well.1582 We on this side hold that the number of apprentices and the quality of the training of those apprentices is the nation's business, not merely the business of the employers themselves, and our accusation is that the Government refuse to accept that responsibility as such. Why they should be that way I do not understand. They know, as I know, that even a good employer with excellent educational schemes caters only for his own employees, while the nation must concern itself with the total of school leavers and not the total which happens to be in employment at a given moment. There is a very fundamental difference indeed.
Many of those who were at an age to start apprenticeship while the Government were prohibiting industrial expansion are now too old to start their apprenticeship, and, therefore, in many cases it is not a question merely of apprenticeship being deferred but a question of their chances of apprenticeship having gone for ever.
There is so much legislation which gives the Government responsibility for the training of many types of people that it really is to us a remarkable thing that they refuse to go a little further and accept the responsibilities which we suggest they should now accept for this kind of training. I do not want to enumerate all the different types of such responsibilities they have, but I deplore the fact that apprenticeship, one of the most vital aspects of general education, is not accepted by them.
When we think of it, does a young lawyer, a doctor, an economist, a person in that kind of profession, face the danger that he may not have the opportunity of further learning his profession because his employer can no longer employ him at a profit?
As someone has said already, private employers in the main are in business to make profits, not to conduct apprenticeships. In the main, they make the number of their apprentices fit their requirement to make profits, which is the main point of their being in business at all. If I may pause to say a word of commendation to the nationalised industries, I would say that their apprenticeship schemes which 1 have seen and studied are models in the progressive way in which they assist their young people in this respect.
1583 We have heard the figures for 1958, which was a year in which we had the worst employment record since the war. Unemployment increased and vacancies contracted at a greater pace as the year went on. I do not suppose for an instant that when the Cabinet was making its decision on the contraction of industry it gave even a thought to its effect on school-leavers. The number of boys under 18 years of age unemployed in February of this year was 21,243. The number now is 22,380, compared with 9,238 in February, 1957, and we know that a similar decline has taken place among the numbers who have gone into apprenticeships. It is not unfair to argue, therefore, that the Government were paying lip-service to the need for increased apprenticeship while their economic policies frustrated those who wished to follow their advice.
There is irony in the fact that the Government chose to restrict the expansion of industry just when the bulge was reaching school-leaving age. The logical thing to have done would have been to provide Government facilities as industrial training declined. The Government failed to do that and, therefore, we have this smaller ratio of apprentices today when, by common consent, we need a greater ratio.
When the Select Committee on Estimates considered the Youth Employment Service, two years ago, some very remarkable evidence was put before it. I should like to quote one or two questions and answers. My hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) asked Dr. W. P. Alexander, Secretary of the Association of Education Committees, the following question:It was said that the quality of the officers is the determining factor in the success of the service. Could I ask you whether you find that you are able to recruit satisfactory youth employment officers?The answer was:I should say the answer is 'No', quite definitely, but it would obviously be absurd to think that that means that there are no excellent officers. However, in general, the present standards of salary and conditions of service, and the present training of the officers recruited, would not, in my opinion, be adequate to the task they are trying to undertake.My hon. Friend then asked:Could you tell the Committee (because this is of vital importance) the reasons for the poor standard of the youth employment 1584 officers; what, in your opinion, should be done in order to raise the standard?The answer was:I think the answer in its simplest form is the standard of the conditions of service. The average salary of all the youth employment officers of this country is very much less than assistant teachers; in other words, anybody who has training beyond the school stage can find another career which offers not merely higher immediate salary but greater opportunity.How, in heaven's name, can we believe that we can ever secure a proper training service in those conditions?
We all agree on the need to increase vastly the ratio of skilled people. The logical outcome if failure to do this continues will be in a few years' time heavy unemployment among unskilled workers, accompanied by a big list of vacancies for non-existent skilled workers. We all know that a certain way of ensuring unemployment among the unskilled is to fail to train an adequate number of skilled workers for industry. It would be interesting to know how many apprentices have been lost to the nation for ever as the result of the economic policies pursued in the last few years.
The Carr Report states that employers should be asked to ascertain their apprentice requirements and make preparations for training, but if employers do not know whether the Government will be encouraging or frustrating industrial expansion how can they possibly know their requirements in the years ahead? Indeed, the Carr Report points out that many industries do not know how many apprentices or craftsmen they have in their employment even now. The Carr committee states:In the course of our inquiries we asked each industry to say how many craftsmen and apprentices it had. Few industries were able to answer this question with any precision, and many were unable to supply any sort of answer at all.I have here a Press hand-out from the British Employers' Confederation which, as I understand, is very sceptical as to whether it can do the things which the Industrial Training Council is trying to Committee states:In the light of preliminary assessments carried out by the industries the Confederation takes the view that the absorption of potential trainees cannot be taken for granted. It can only be achieved if employers arrange their training budget for the next few years on the basis of wide and continuing expansion.Tory policy does not permit that. We know that at one period they must contract in order to boom at a later period.
1585 Therefore, I suggest that under the economic ideas of the present Government it is not possible for any employer to know that he can budget on the basis of wide and continuing expansion.
Somebody said that the Carr Report was the first effort in these things. I have criticised the recommendation about the setting up of a committee which has no real authority. Six Willis Jackson has been quoted by my hon. Friend, and I was reading the speech he made the other day entitled, "The Partnership between Industry and Education" which he made to the British Association in August of last year. He said:Mr. Robert Carr went no further than to envisage a purely advisory National Apprenticeship Council intended to 'keep representative organisations of employers and workers at national level informed of progress' and to 'collect and disseminate information …'.Sir Willis Jackson goes on to point to a remarkable report agreed in 1944, fifteen years ago, between the engineering employers, the A.E.U., the major engineering institutions, and the Regional Advisory Council for Technical and other forms of Further Education, which proposed the appointment of…a National Engineering Apprentice Council as a central directing body, and of associated regional councils, each to be composed of representatives of organised employers, trade unions, professional institutions, education authorities and the interested Government Departments, and it defined the responsibilities of the regional councils for the organisation and administration of training schemes in their respective areas.…One recommendation made in the report was:to advise upon the establishment, equipment, staffing and maintenance of all Apprentice Training Centres (for the initial period of training) to meet the needs of the region.That is what I would term an enlightened report of fifteen years ago, and it was sheer coincidence that I was the A.E.U. representative on it.
The debate today, though a quiet and serious one, has revealed a wide difference on the central issue to which I have referred. I suggest that in this scientific age we have the great task of ensuring that our industries do not wither away for lack of skilled labour. We have to ensure that there is a good balance between science and the humanities. I believe that that is a great and essential task which only the House of Commons 1586 can perform. Perhaps the objective we are searching for might be described as "automation without awe". I believe that it is because the Government refuse to see the need for this that these policies are not sufficient to meet the requirements of the nation. Because the Government are not seized of the great responsibilities which rest with them during the period of the bulge, and are not capable of doing what is required, we shall divide the Committee tonight.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
I should like to congratulate the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) on the very agreeable manner in which he has endeavoured to justify the division at the end of this debate. I have listened to a good many debates over the past nine years and I have seldom heard one in which the wide difference referred to by the hon. Member was less evident—except for one or two moments between twenty minutes past nine and twenty-five minutes past nine this evening.
I will gladly take up seriously the point made by the hon. Member for Newton who referred to the Carr Committee as though it were a Government Committee. Do not let us forget that the Can committee was industry's own Committee; it reported to the National Joint Advisory Council and its report was fully approved by the Council. When the hon. Gentleman talks about the Government playing a direct part in the training of apprentices, as my hon. Friend said we shall consider carefully the very moderate statement of this view by the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) earlier in the debate. But do not let us forget that on this issue the hon. Member for Newton is the only one who is in step. There is no chance whatever of convincing either side of industry at the present time that the existing system has failed and cannot meet the needs of the future. So here, the division is not between the two sides of the Committee, but between the hon. Member for Newton, on the one hand, and the Government and the British Employer's Confederation and the T.U.C. on the other. We should remember that in arriving at a fair view of this issue.
We started the debate with a speech from the right hon. Member for Blyth 1587 which, I think, greatly impressed all who were fortunate enough to hear it. I should like at once to take up one point made by the right hon. Gentleman which I consider of the highest possible importance. He rightly said that we shall not earn our living in a competitive world, or play a worthy part in world affairs, unless we have an ample supply of skilled manpower all along the line. It is not enough to have top-class scientists and technologists. We have to back them up with efficient and first-class technicians and craftsmen. It is in that spirit—whatever our division in the Lobbies may be—that tonight the Committee is united in the importance of the issue.
I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that, for this reason, we must have a first-class system of education which embraces everyone. For this reason, we now have a White Paper on the schools based on the theme that everyone, and not just a selected few, should have a full secondary education in accordance with his ability and aptitude, There cannot be a more important point than this one which was made by the right hon. Gentleman.
Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have asked a number of questions, and I shall endeavour to answer some of them. I should like to take up two of the points put to the Government by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr), whom we were glad to hear speaking so constructively in this debate. My hon. Friend asked about the Letchworth Staff Training College. This was established originally for the training of Ministry of Labour and National Service instructors, but it has also trained a number of instructors for firms in industry. Last year the industrial staff was increased in order to help to cope with the growing volume of work.
The hon. Member asked about the possibility of greater help for group apprenticeship schemes. I can assure him that the training development officers which the Government grant-in-aid is designed to encourage will be available to help develop group schemes where these are required. The right hon. Member for Blyth and other hon. Members have talked about the future of the Industrial Training Council. Many other hon. Members suggested that this should 1588 be, as it were, only the first step. I should like to remind the Committee that the fact that this Industrial Council will now be administering this grant-in-aid of £75,000, and the equivalent sum which industry must raise to match this grant-in-aid must of itself have a considerable influence on the amount of work the Industrial Training Council does, and on the atmosphere in which it does that work. So there is no question of the Industrial Training Council standing still, and, as I say, its future must be determined by this added responsibility which is now placed upon it.
I think it would be helpful this evening if I said a few words about the Government's broad policy with regard to apprentices. It is now a well-established tradition in British industry that apprentices, whether they are craft apprentices, technical apprentices or student apprentices, should have both training and education, and that whereas the training is the responsibility of the employer the education is provided by the local education authorities and the technical colleges. It is this principle which was recently emphasised in the Carr Committee's Report, and it is the accepted policy of the Government.
I know perfectly well that the demarcation between training and education can never be absolutely precise, but broadly speaking education means in this context the general principles underlying calculations, science or design, whereas training is primarily concerned with the practical application of these principles to those skills associated with a particular occupation. Naturally, the balance between education and training will vary according to the grasp of fundamental scientific principles that are required for a particular job. For instance, as many hon. Members in this Committee will know, a craft apprentice spends four-fifths of his time in industry and only one-fifth in a technical college, whereas a student apprentice spends two-fifths of the time in industry and three-fifths in college.
It is in accordance with this general policy that most apprenticeship schemes make provision for apprentices to attend part-time at a technical college, usually for one day a week up to the ages of 16 and 18 or 16 and 21, though, of course, the practice varies a good deal 1589 according to the policy of the firm and the abilities of the students. Usually the time spent at the technical college is a preparation for a recognised qualification, either a National Certificate, or the appropriate Craft Certificate of the City and Guilds of London Institute.
In this connection, I agree with a point made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) who made such an interesting speech. I gathered a good many of his points, but I could not get all of them because it was like the game of catching fish on a seaside pier. But I got his point that we are in danger of having too many and too great a variety of qualifications—it is certainly a danger we should guard against.
The provision of courses for students released by their employers in this way is a major function of the technical colleges, and the majority of the students between the ages of 15 and 18 are, in fact, apprentices or industrial trainees of one kind or another. As the Committee will recall, one of the two primary objectives laid down in the 1956 White Paper on Technical Education was to enable the figure of 355,000 students released in the year 1954–55 to be doubled within the period covered by the investment programme of £70 million announced in the White Paper. If we are to reach this target figure, this means that we must achieve an average increase in the number of part-time day release students of about 40,000 a year.
In the years immediately following 1955, we made good progress towards this target. By 1957, the number of part-time day release students had risen to 417,000, which represented an average annual increase of just over 30,000 a year since 1955. This was certainly encouraging, particularly as at that time the relevant age groups had hardly increased at all. In 1958, there came a setback when the numbers, though still increasing, went up by only 17,000. I know that this setback will be disappointing to the Committee, and certainly none of us on either side of the Committee has any ground for complacency, but at the same time I think that we should view these figures in their true perspective, because, after all, there never has been a single period in our national history when technical education as a whole has made a more rapid advance. In the first place, even though 1590 the figures I have just quoted for 1958 are disappointing, we should not forget that we have achieved a tenfold increase in day releases compared with the years before the war. Secondly, the work at advanced level in technical colleges has been progressing very well indeed.
In the last academic year, 1957–58, the output from advanced courses in technical colleges had risen from 9,500 in 1955 to over 11,000. Sandwich courses have increased in number from about 100, when the White Paper was published, to over 250 this session, and the number of students enrolled annually has grown from about 2,300 to over 8,000. There are now sixty-six courses for the Diploma in Technology in progress at twenty colleges compared with forty-one at eleven colleges a year ago, and more than 2,500 students are taking these courses. Finally, the eight colleges of advanced technology are all developing strongly with a total present enrolment of nearly 7,000 full-time and sandwich students.
My third reason for not thinking that we should be too gloomy at the setback in part-time day release during 1958 is that the technical colleges themselves are doing much to prepare for a further expansion in their numbers by diversifying their courses and providing new types of courses for the ordinary craft apprentices and technicians. I can assure the Committee that the technical colleges are both ready and eager to play their full part at the craftsman and technician level as well as in the field of advanced technical education. The large building programmes we have announced show clearly that it is the firm policy of the Government that the colleges shall have the means to do the job.
As the Committee knows, the whole capital investment programme of £70 million announced in the 1956 White Paper has by now been fully authorised in the form of individual building projects, and in 1958 the total value of projects started and completed was, respectively, £15 million and about £10 million as compared with only just over £5 million under each head before 1956. Further, my right hon. Friend has recently announced that this rate of building starts will be maintained for a further period of three years after the end of the five-year period 1956–61. This new £45 million programme for 1961–64 will 1591 not only enable the output of advanced courses to be still further increased to about 17,000, but will also enable more and better provision to be made for day release students.
Furthermore, there will be better facilities in the technical colleges not only for teaching but for social and recreational activities. It is the policy of the Government to enable the technical colleges, on the one hand, to provide their share of the increased output of scientists and technologists required in the late 1960s and, on the other hand, to make adequate educational provision to match the training opportunities which it is industry's task to provide for the growing number of young people who will become available for employment.
Of course, this expansion in the technical colleges will require a constantly increasing supply of well qualified teachers. I wish to say a word or two about that. Roughly speaking, the colleges need about 1,400 extra full-time teachers a year to meet their estimated requirements. I am glad to be able to tell the Committee that in recent years the total teaching force has been increasing by a greater amount each year. In 1958, it increased by 1,500 to reach the record total of 13,500. Of course, we need still more, and especially men with first-rate qualifications and experience. I can assure the Committee that my right hon. Friend has urged local education authorities to consider very seriously the recommendations made in the Willis Jackson Report. Training facilities for those engaged in industry and commerce who wish to become technical teachers are being expanded and considerably larger training grants have been made available.
I come to a point of great importance to which many hon. Members have referred—the need for very close co-operation between industry and the technical colleges. I think that we all agree that the technical college has three main functions and three main responsibilities towards its students. First, it should aim to provide as wide a range of courses as its resources will allow. Secondly, it should see that each student takes the course which is most fitting, bearing in mind both the ability of the student and the job at which he is aiming. Thirdly, it should watch over the students and assist their progress and welfare.
1592 Technical colleges, however, cannot do their best without the active co-operation of industry, and in this context 1 should like especially to emphasise the word "active", because the release of many more girls and boys is certainly necessary if the potential skills of apprentices are to be fully developed and if the much greater number of scientists and technologists now emerging from the universities and technical colleges are to be adequately supported at the technician and craftsman level. Here we come back to the point at which I began. If we are to earn our living in world markets we need a regular and large flow of skilled manpower right the way down the line.
There is, of course, more to it than this. The truth is that we want much more intimate daily contact between individual firms and their local technical colleges, more active participation by industry on the governing bodies and advisory committees of the colleges and a greater interchange of staff. At the apprenticeship level, the training and the education should be complementary and should keep in step with one another, while a greater measure of guidance and advice to the apprentices, both in the college and in the factory, is necessary if we are to reduce that wastage from courses which must cause us all concern.
This can be achieved only by close and regular contact between the staff at the technical college and the training officers and apprentice supervisors in the factory. There are some very good examples of this co-operation and co-ordination, but a great deal more is needed. I must say frankly that, quite apart from the question of the number of apprentices taken on by industry—and we all agree that the numbers are disappointing; there is no dispute between us about that and certainly no complacency on this side of the Committee—there is also the question, to which many hon. Members have referred, of the quality of apprentices. When going round the country and visiting technical colleges, I have on many occasions encountered the criticism that the training arrangements made by industry are often inadequate. This applies especially, though not exclusively, in the smaller firms.
Sometimes, of course, this inadequacy arises from the size or the nature of the firm, which has not within its control the 1593 means to provide the range of training and experience which is required, a point with which the right hon. Member for Blyth dealt fully and fairly in his speech, but I must also say that this inadequacy sometimes arises from a lack of sufficient interest or understanding of what is required. I think that it is better that we should have these matters out frankly in the Committee.
The training may too often consist of letting the apprentice pick up knowledge and skills casually in the course of his daily work. Too often there is no apprentice supervisor or even a specially skilled man charged with the responsibility of seeing that the apprentice is properly instructed or purposely employed. I am not saying that this happens very often. I am saying that it ought never to happen. It ought never to happen that an apprentice has to act simply as an errand boy or a maker of tea during his first year, which is the most impressionable time in the whole of his industrial life, when he is making the difficult transition from sheltered school discipline and when his industrial attitudes are being formed.
Again, even when day release is granted, there are some firms which do not seem to pay enough attention to what the apprentice does in the technical college. I am sure that all of us know from our personal experience in some context or another just how deadening what I call this negative and uncooperative attitude can be. It can be extremely frustrating to the colleges, and especially to those colleges which are genuinely trying to do a good job. It is exactly for this reason that I have stressed tonight the enormous importance of close co-operation between college and firm.
Of course, it is true that not all the technical colleges are good. Not all have proper selection methods and pay all that attention to the needs of students which is desirable. In all these cases, the right remedies are closer collaboration, frequent meetings, interchange of reports and views, and correlation of education in the college and instruction in the apprentice-training school.
In opening the debate, the right hon. Gentleman drew attention to the fact that some of the large firms—we know them well—have apprenticeship arrangements 1594 which work extremely well. Any of us who have had the privilege of seeing what is done by firms like Metropolitan Vickers and I.C.I. know just exactly how good first-class training of this kind can be. The Government believe that all these good things are well within the power of the large and medium-sized firm. Indeed, some of them have an excellent record. For the small firm, there may well be real difficulties, because many of them simply have not the facilities to provide the range of training which is necessary.
The right hon. Member for Blyth talked about the difficulties of the small firm. But we shall have a great many small firms for a very long time. We must approach this situation in a sympathetic spirit, make the best of the situation and do our best to help these firms. The solution for them may be group apprenticeship schemes, which are already seen in some areas in the engineering industry. Again, the solution may be a joint training centre, such as is already provided for foundry craftsmen.
Alternatively it may be possible in some cases for firms to arrange with the local technical college to undertake, on their behalf, the preliminary training which, in the larger firm, is done in the works training school. Again, where the technical college has the necessary accommodation and staff, it has sometimes been possible to arrange for the apprentices to attend the college for the whole of the first year of their apprenticeship. The general point I want to emphasise is that the Government are very much alive to the difficulties of the small firm, but I believe that in many cases those difficulties can be surmounted, provided that there is collaboration, and provided that the small firms make it plain just what sort of training their apprentices really need.
Quite a number of hon. Members have very rightly referred in this debate to the important part that the trade unions have to play. The pattern of British apprenticeship has developed through the years, and will continue to develop, in response to our industrial needs and to changes such as the longer school life, the growth of sixth forms and the development of new courses in the secondary modern schools. The unions can do a great deal to help on the 1595 changes in the framework of apprenticeship which will result. They can, by their help and guidance, do much to increase and improve industrial training and to foster the right relationship with the technical colleges.
I was glad that the right hon. Member for Blyth referred to the absurdity of keeping on with the arrangement that every boy should necessarily do five years before becoming a skilled craftsman. He also made the important point that it is quite wrong to restrict entry to boys of school-leaving age. The position as regards school leaving today is rapidly evolving. Since the war, we have doubled the size of sixth forms in our schools, and there are no less than 40,000 scholars in the modern schools who are staying on beyond the school-leaving age. Whether a child leaves at 15 or stays on may depend upon the accident of what educational facilities are available in the area. To say that entry should be restricted to boys of school-leaving age cannot make sense in the sort of educational conditions that we have today. In my view, it is a thoroughly good thing that this point should have been aired in the debate.
Finally—because, though we are not seriously divided in argument, we shall be divided in the Division Lobby and I have, therefore, to sit down in two minutes from now—I should like to take up the reference made by the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) to the vital importance of the period of transition from school life to working life.
In this country, we have always set our face against the idea of the purely vocational school education, and I am quite sure that we have been right. It has always been our belief that the best possible general education is the best start in life, whatever kind of job we are afterwards intending to do. As I say, today more and more children are staying on longer at school because they are able to gain from the wide variety of courses that many secondary schools of all kinds are starting to offer; but I think all will agree that education and training should not end with school.
I was very glad to hear the hon. Member for Edmonton and my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham both emphasis- 1596 ing the need for some kind of training to be as widespread as possible in our national life. The hon. Member for Edmonton referred, for example, to training for porters with British Railways, or for those who render some other kinds of essential services, without which our national life simply could not go on. My hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham referred to the fact that even a few days of induction training may be of great value to many people in many jobs—
§ Mr. Collick
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I understood that this debate was to be on youth employment problems. On Merseyside, we have 2,000 unemployed youths, and I would be very interested if we could get back to the practical aspect, which is what we can tell those 2,000 unemployed youths, and what the Government's policy is.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I can tell the hon. Member two things about that. First, I understood that the Opposition wished to debate today the problems of youth employment, with special relationship to apprenticeship schemes, and with special relationship to what happens to young people in industry after leaving school. That is a matter within the direct province of the Department for which I share some responsibility, and it was for that reason that I have devoted the greater part of my speech to that aspect—I think. not unreasonably.
However, if the hon. Gentleman wishes to ask about the Merseyside, I will tell him that we have done our best to get the figures of school leavers there but that it simply has not been possible to get them in the time available. Therefore, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour will communicate both with the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) and with the hon. Lady the Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Mrs. Braddock), who asked about Liverpool, as soon as possible.
What I can do is to repeat what I consider to be the very heartening statistic that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary gave earlier, when he pointed out that of the 12,785 school leavers who were out of work on 13th April approximately half have got jobs 1597 within a fortnight. As I say, that is a heartening statistic, and I gladly repeat it.
This has been a valuable debate, as it has shown that all of us, in whatever part of the Committee we may sit, attach the very highest importance to the development of economic opportunity. It is on that point that we in this Committee arc indeed united, and it is on that basis
§ that the Government will continue their work in the future.
§ Mr. Robens
I beg to move, That Item Class VI, Vote 9 (Ministry of Labour and National Service), be reduced by £5.
§ Question put:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 146, Noes 195.1599
|Division No. 97.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Holman, P.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Albu, A. H.||Holmes, Horace||Paton, John|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Houghton, Douglas||Peart, T. F.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pentland, N.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayshire)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Blackburn, F.||Hunter, A. E.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Probert, A. R.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Janner, B.||Rankln, John|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reeves, J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pnos. S.)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Ross, William|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, s.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Collick, P. H. (Blrkenhead)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||King, Dr. H. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lawson, G. M.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Deer, G.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Stonehouse, John|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lewis, Arthur||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lindgren, G. S.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Lipton, Marcus||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||MoCann, J.||Thompson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||MacColl, J. E.||Timmons, J.|
|Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||MacDermot, Niall||Tomney, F.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mcinnes, J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Forman, J, C.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||MoLeavy, Frank||Weitzman, D.|
|Gaitskeli, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mahon, Simon||White, Henry (Derybshire, N.E.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Malialieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Willey, Frederick|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mayhew, C. P.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Grey, C. F.||Messer, Sir F.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Mitchison, G. R.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Hale, Leslie||Moody, A. S.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Oliver, G. H.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hannan, W.||Orbach, M.||Woof, R. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Padley, W. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Healey, Denis||Paget, R. T.||Zilllacus, K.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Paling, Rt. Hn. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Palmer, A. M. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hilton A. V.||Pargiter, G. A.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons|
|Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Parker, J.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Beamish, Col. Tufton||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Brooman-White, R. C.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Burden, F. F. A.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Butcher, Sir Herbert|
|Arbuthnot, John||Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Carr, Robert|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bingham, R. M.||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Ashton, H.||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Channon, H. P. C.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Bishop, F. P.||Chichester-Clark, R.|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Black, Sir Cyril||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Body, R. F.||Cole, Norman|
|Banks, Col. C.||Bonham Carter, Mark||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger|
|Barber, Anthony||Bossom, Sir Alfred||Cooper, A. E.|
|Barter, John||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.|
|Batsford, Brian||Boyle, Sir Edward||Corfield, F. V.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Braine, B. R.||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. 0. E.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pott, H. P.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hutchison, MichaelClark(E'b'gh, 8.)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Currle, G. B. H.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Iremonger, T. L.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Redmayne, M.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Greeen)||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Keegan, D.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Leather, E. H. C.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Leavey, J. A.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Russell, R. S.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Fort, R.||Lloyd, Maj. SirGuy (Renfrew, E.)||Shepherd, William|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Loveys, Walter H.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Glover, D.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Speir, R. M.|
|Godber, J. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maokeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Studbolme, Sir Henry|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Green, A.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||McMaster, S. R.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gurden, Harold||Maddan, Martin||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Hall, John (Wyoombe)||Maitland, Cdr.J.F.W.(Horncastle)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Hay, John||Marshall, Douglas||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Mawby, R. L.||Wakefleld, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.||Wall, Patrick|
|Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Hesketh, R. F.||Nairn, D. L. 8.||Ward, Date Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Webster, David|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Holt, A. F.||Page, R. G.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hornby, R. P.||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Partridge, E.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Peel, W. J.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Mr. E. Wakefield and Mr. Bryan.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.