§ 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. 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.