HC Deb 16 May 1960 vol 623 cc909-10
27. Mr. Boardman

asked the Minister of Labour what has been the response up to date of his appeal to the National Joint Advisory Council for firms to increase substantially their intake of boys for training in skilled occupation during the next three years.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Edward Heath)

Last year the Industrial Training Council asked for an increased intake of young people for training in skilled occupations, and the replies show that many industries foresee a need to increase their intake.

In response to an appeal from the President of the British Employers Confederation in January of this year, 154 leading undertakings have indicated that it is their policy substantially to increase their intake of boys into skilled occupations during 1961, 1962 and 1963, and a further 62 undertakings have expressed general sympathy with this aim.

Mr. Boardman

While thanking the Minister for having taken the initiative in this matter, may I ask whether he will now look at the special aspect of this problem in areas like mine where the main industries are coal and cotton, and where the prospects of apprenticeship are strictly limited? Could he arrange through his employment exchanges for a tie-up between towns with declining industries and neighbouring towns which have a wide variety of industries, so that the boys in the former towns will not be at a disadvantage?

Mr. Heath

I will ask the I.T.C. to look at the problem in those areas which have declining industries. One of the answers will, we hope, be that as a result of the Local Employment Act fresh industry will go into these areas.

Mr. Prentice

In addition to the figures which the Minister gave, can he say how many firms gave a negative reply and how many did not reply at all? Is he satisfied with the response that has been given to this inquiry?

Mr. Heath

If the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question to me, I will ask the I.T.C. to make an analysis of the replies to the questionnaire.

36. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Labour if he will consider setting up a Government training centre for first-year apprenticeship training in the county borough of St. Helens.

Mr. P. Thomas

My right hon. Friend could not set up a centre for apprentice training alone, but a course will be provided at the Government Training Centre at Aintree, the nearest existing centre.