HC Deb 18 December 1961 vol 651 cc921-2
16. Mr. Mawby

asked the Minister of Labour what progress has been made in finding suitable employment and training opportunities for the increasing numbers of school leavers.

Mr. Hare

In the first nine months of this year 491,000 boys and girls entered employment—31,000 more than in the same period last year. Of the boys, 98,000, or 38.4 per cent., went into apprenticeship or learnerships. The corresponding figure last year was 87,000 or 36 per cent. This shows an increase of nearly 13 per cent. over last year.

These figures are encouraging and tribute is due to the efforts made by the Industrial Training Council and others to stimulate the expansion of training opportunities. I must emphasise that a still greater expansion will be necessary next year when the number of school leavers will again increase.

Mr. Mawby

While we all agree with what my right hon. Friend said, that some progress has been made, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he does not think that, next year being a really crucial year, we should approach this matter of the bulge not as a problem but rather as an opportunity which will not he repeated? Will he continue to press for as much progress as possible next year?

Mr. Hare

I agree with what my hon. Friend says. I intend to continue our policy, which has brought tangible results this year, of impressing on industry the real opportunity that the bulge offers for expanding its skilled labour force.

Miss Herbison

Can the Minister say whether the increase of 13 per cent. is evenly divided over the country as a whole? As he said earlier, we in Scotland have a higher rate of unemployment than anywhere in the British Isles. What opportunities will there be for work, particularly for apprenticeships for our young lads, when we have the bulge next year?

Mr. Hare

I should be delighted to give the hon. Lady a break-down into regional figures if she would be good enough to table a Question.