HC Deb 20 December 1961 vol 651 cc1333-4
8. Mr. R. Carr

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty how many artificer apprentices had been recruited into the Royal Navy in 1961.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

Four hundred and ninety-four artificer apprentices, about 45 per cent. of whom are grammar school boys, have been recruited this year. This number exceeds the annual target of 480.

Mr. Carr

May I congratulate the Admiralty on that recruiting, and ask my hon. Friend whether he expects to be able to keep it up in future years? May I also ask what is the total number of artificer apprentices under training in the Navy at the moment, and what their career prospects are?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We have in all 1,803 artificer apprentices under training in the Navy. I think that we shall keep up this rate of recruiting which is extremely encouraging at the moment. As regards career prospects. about four-fifths of the artificers now serving are chiefs or the equivalent, and, as regards those who have a desire to become commissioned, about fifty of these artificers are commissioned every year, so that career prospects are excellent and recruiting has been going extremely well.

Miss Vickers

In view of the higher standard of education of these artificers, may I ask whether there is any intention to shorten the apprenticeship course?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

No, Sir. There is no intention of doing that at the moment. This is a five-year course. They start with one year at H.M.S. "Fisgard", then have three years in various specialist establishments, and a final year with the Fleet. We have not found that we can shorten the course because we are demanding ever-higher standards. I would say that these important men are now getting something over £1,000 a year by the time they reach the status of chief, and therefore it is not surprising that good boys are coming forward, and we are making them into a fine national contribution even if they decide at a later stage to leave the Navy.

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