§ 8. Mr. Boyden
asked the Minister of Labour how many boys and girls, respectively, have been apprenticed through the commercial apprenticeship scheme; and what percentage this represents of the annual recruitment into commerce of juveniles in the age group concerned
§ Mr. P. Thomas
One hundred and seventy boys under 18 years of age have been apprenticed under the commercial apprenticeship scheme of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce from its inception in May, 1957, until 31st August, 1959. So far, no girls have been apprenticed. I cannot say what proportion this is of total recruitment into commerce as the figures do not distinguish commerce from clerical employment generally.
§ Mr. Boyden
Is not this figure pitifully small, and does not the Minister think that he should use his influence with the banks and the insurance companies, for example, which give practically no day-release, to get them to help in the scheme? Can he not take more energetic steps to do something about it?
§ Mr. Thomas
I agree that the figure appears to be small, but it must be appreciated that this scheme is not intended as a general training scheme for boys and girls entering commercial employment but is for the training of potential candidates for executive posts. It is some encouragement to know that it is expected that there will, this year, be an increase of about 50 per cent. in the numbers entering the scheme.