§ 3.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)
Today, we are discussing the very important issue of apprenticeships and technical training, and it is perhaps a revelation to the country of the dilatory way in which the Government look after these matters that, as usual, it has been left to the Opposition to bring to the notice of the Committee the importance of the issue which the country as a whole is now discussing.
We know that Commonwealth Technical Training week is with us, and it is something which I should have thought the Government would have cared to take into consideration because of the situation in which the country now finds itself. Those of us who have taken an interest in this matter for many years have been greatly heartened by the initiative which the Duke of Edinburgh and his colleagues have displayed. We wish them the greatest success in bringing it more and more to the attention not only of people in this country, but throughout the Commonwealth.
262 It is not easy for a nation which led the world through one industrial revolution to adapt itself to the requirements of a second one. Such a nation is bound to develop a vested interest in hanging on to the methods and tools of the revolution which established its industrial supremacy. This, I suppose, is reflected in many ways. The habits and methods by which we train our craftsmen have proved themselves to have given us a high position in the quality and quantity of our industrial production. I therefore believe that the new situation requires a great effort both by the Government and the nation as a whole to ensure that we keep abreast of the changes which are taking place.
We must ensure that the nation understands clearly that simply because certain methods and tools stood us in good stead in the past they will do now; we cannot ignore the fact that a new scientific revolution is with us today. Those of us who are worried about the Government's comparative inertia on this subject feel that there is a lack of dynamism. This may be due to a number of reasons.
A Government who obtain power on the rather sickly cushiness of "You have never had it so good" invite inertia: invite the feeling among people that they should retain the status quo, the things which allegedly gave them the chance to have it so good. We will have a difficult task to persuade them that there is a need radically to change many of the methods of industrial production with which they have carried on for so long.
It is because Toryism fairly oozes that kind of stagnation that we are unable to keep abreast of many other countries, notably those in Western Europe. On the Continent we know that the coming of the Common Market has had a great psychological effect. I am not arguing the rights and wrongs of that. Apart from any physical advantage, the coming of the Common Market has inspired many of the nations within it, and they now appear with the sort of psychological advantage of really believing that they are in the forefront of what I have described as a scientific industrial revolution.
Because of substantial war damage, much of their industry has been 263 modernised. They have many modern industries and modern tools which we have not received. Daily we see proof of the great speed with which applied science is breaking down the limits of man's capacity to master forces which, only a short time ago, were accepted as insuperable.
Today, we are discussing matters which we believe are a vital part of the wider problem of the application of modern science to our industries. Indeed, in one of our Labour Party publications we say:The scientific habit of thought can discipline and inspire our intellectual and creative efforts.I suggest that our approach to the problem of apprenticeships and technical education, of which I consider apprenticeships to be a part, must be based on the intellectual curiosity and technical knowledge of a large portion of the community, and that wherever existing practice differs from that kind of concept we must accept the need for a radical change.
I was pleased to see that in his speech at the Guildhall the Duke of Edinburgh said:In 1960, in Great Britain, 550,000 young people aged 15 to 17 entered employment and 420,000 of them went into unskilled jobs. I refuse to believe that this is the right proportion either for the individuals or for the country as a whole.I believe that to be true, and that it highlights the situation with which the House is faced.
It would be bad enough, in all conscience, if the numbers quoted there were the only young people who wished to take up apprenticeships, but we all know from experience in our constituencies that there are countless numbers of young people who wish to take out apprenticeships but who are denied the opportunity of so doing. I read of one area electricity board which, in 1958, offered six craft apprenticeships. It received 450 applications, over 100 of whom were considered suitable by the board because of their qualifications. That story could be repeated many times.
Important economic decisions relating to the direction and expansion of our industrial effort are made and varied at short notice. This is done by using the 264 Bank Rate, the Budget, credit supply—and we now have something known as "regulators". But we cannot, by short-term decisions, change the percentage of the population which possesses the scientific or craft knowledge which is essential to the production of the type of goods which, alone, can ensure our position as a great industrial nation.
The Government have now reached one of those few periods in which they argue the need to expand the economy. But economic growth requires decisions about what we produce, as well as quantative decisions about the amount produced. In this respect, the numbers of technicians and skilled craftsmen determine what is possible, so far as the type of goods we produce are concerned. Any nation which is suffering from a considerable shortage of skilled manpower is driven to a position of confining much of its activity of the production of goods which semi-skilled and unskilled labour permits. A great many of our former customers—agricultural nations then—are now producing those types of manufactured goods.
In the past, we have prided ourselves on a high standard of craftsmanship, but craft or skill does not necessarily remain static and unchanging. New production methods require new skills, and a nation which does not acquire new skills condemns itself to obsolete production methods and continues to train its young people in skills which have lost a great deal of their value. One of my anxieties is derived from the fear that we are already struggling in that kind of vicious circle. I urge hon. Members to consider the number of Britain's great industries which must soon change over to the use of modern automatic machines and, also, to consider the small number of apprentices being trained in the use of those machines. Upon study of this matter hon. Members will soon reach the conclusion that the picture is rather frightening.
We are concerned with the training of young people, but if I am right in what I have just said, it follows that the skills of many of our craftsmen will become, and are becoming, outmoded. There is thus the need to retrain many of them; and while I am advocating apprenticeships I am also pointing out the need 265 to retrain our present craftsmen. Often I have asked the Minister of Labour to examine this problem with a view to getting these craftsmen retrained. We are entering a phase in which many crafts will become obsolete; and this is not merely a neutral thing, because craftsmanship not used is a positive curse to the man who possesses it.
It can be said, of course, that a fully trained mind does not easily adapt itself to the mass production of small components and, in that sense, unskilled men are far more adaptable than are those possessing skill. It is, therefore, all the more necessary for the Government to consider what is happening to these men. I notice that in the United States a tripartite advisory committee, composed of Government, employers' and unions' representatives, has reported to President Kennedy. That report asks for broader new retraining programmes, by both Government and private industries, to help workers displaced by automation to acquire new skills.
Her Majesty's Government may argue that, unlike the United States, there is very little unemployment here. To that, I must reply that to be safe from technological unemployment by our own sluggishness in modernisation is a very short-term advantage indeed, with a rather awful retribution at the end of it.
On 1st May, 1959, on a Private Member's Motion, I raised this issue with the then Minister of Labour, who is the present Secretary of State for the Colonies. I tried to show that, whereas the trade unions in the United States had been in the forefront of the demand for automation, they were now becoming rather sceptical because of the unemployment of their members. The then Minister of Labour said:I want to take up the point made about the United States and the argument that when production leaps ahead, partly, because of the coming of technological change, there is a serious danger that unemployment' will rise with it. With respect to him, I doubt whether the hon. Member for Newton is on a sound point here. The figures which we have been able to get over the past year or two, even in a time of particularly difficult trading conditions, which we hope are passing, do not seem to support that view.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st May, 1959, Vol 622, c. 1703.]We now see that a great deal of their unemployment—and about 5 million 266 people are involved—represents technological unemployment for which they had not prepared. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will not make that mistake but will, instead, analyse the trouble in advance of our reaching the position which I have described in the United States.
I am sure that it is agreed on both sides of the Committee that in most of Britain's industries, which employ skilled labour, there has for a long time been a shortage of skilled personnel. Few, if any, of those industries have training schemes adequate to the problems that face them. I appreciate that some firms have, but I am here dealing with industries, and not firms.
During the last few years our debates on this subject have centred almost entirely on methods of ensuring that the large increase in the number of 15-year-olds who, we knew, would be coming on to the labour market after leaving school, would have an opportunity of entering industry. The Carr Report, published at the end of 1957, was concerned solely with that problem, as is the Industrial Training Council, which that Report brought into existence.
We should, therefore, ask ourselves just what is the position today in the "battle of the bulge", as it has come to be known. We know from figures already produced that industry failed in this matter so far as many of the school leavers of the 1958 and 1959 bulges were concerned- I received answers to Questions I put to the Minister on 22nd February this year in which the right hon. Gentleman gave the numbers and percentages of young people who had acquired apprenticeships in 1957, 1958 and 1959. In 1957, the number was 95,184; in 1958, it was 93,212; and in 1959 it was 98,701.
Looking at the various industries, one finds that those which employ the greatest number of apprentices—engineering, shipbuilding and electrical appliances—the number fell between 1957 and 1959 from 25,631 to 20,577. The percentage was, in 1957, 36.6 of boys and 7 per cent of girls. In 1958, it was 34.8 per cent. of boys and 6.9 per cent of girls and in 1959 it was 33.6 per cent. of boys and 7.4 per cent. of girls. In other words, as the bulge increased, 267 the percentage acquiring appreticeships or jobs requiring technical ability declined.
I realise that there has been an improvement in 1960. The figure I received today shows that 548,000 young people under 18 left school to start work—4 per cent. fewer than the record total in 1959. In other words, the problem was not as acute in 1960. There was 70,000 fewer schools leavers than in 1959, but by the end of 1961 there will be 150,000 more leaving school than there were last year.
There is, however, a discrepancy—perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will look this up for me—in the percentages. In the last Ministry of Labour Press release, which I have here, it is stated that last year 548,000 young people left school. It is said that this is 22.4 per cent. compared with 20.8 per cent. in 1959. The figure which was given in an Answer to a Question of mine on 22nd February was 36.6 per cent. No doubt it is a question of when one begins to consider the matter, but there is a marked discrepancy here. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will explain how the difference arises.
Last year, the problem was not as acute, because there was a fall in the number of school leavers, but this year there is an increase of 155,000. In other words, in a few weeks' time the largest number of school leavers ever will begin their quest for jobs. Apart from the few thousand more who went into industry last year, it is inevitable that many, many thousands of the young people who will leave school in a few weeks are already condemned to blind alley jobs whereas they should have had the opportunity to take out apprenticeships for skilled work.
I no longer pose the question: is industry failing to produce sufficient apprenticeships to meet the nation's requirements and to absorb the bulge? It has already failed in the battle of the 1961 bulge. It is not equipped in any way for the long-term job of producing sufficient craftsmen to meet the requirements of the scientific revolution. If I am right, the recommendations of the Carr Committee have proved completely inadequate for the size and nature of the problem. That Committee based its conclusions on the proposition that 268Our traditional apprenticeships system should form the foundation of future training arrangements.The Industrial Training Council, which came into existence as a result of the Carr Committee's Report, has always worked on the principle that training is the responsibility of employers and that any action taken by them must be entirely voluntary. No matter how much we criticise industry or the recommendations of the Carr Committee, the final responsibility lies with the Government. I consider their determination to leave it all to industry, despite warnings both in this Committee and outside, to be something of a hangover from the laissez faire economics of a few years ago. I believe that this policy was never in with a chance either of training adequately young people or of providing the possibility of absorbing the bulge when it was at its height.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
I do not dissent from the hon. Gentleman's main theme, but, following up his reference to blind alley jobs, would not he agree that the fact that at present the country has an all-time low figure of unemployment—it is just over 1 per cent.—means that people are much more likely to go into blind alley jobs now than they were when unemployment was much higher?
§ Mr. Lee
That is a most defeatist attitude. I am not arguing now that there are no jobs for people. If there were, the problem would be even more startling. If there were massive unemployment, as there is in the United States, the problem would be greater. What we are worried about is that hundreds of thousands of young people are going into blind alley jobs and, therefore, will miss the opportunity of serving apprenticeships.
If one looks at the figures which the Ministry of Labour published today it is plain that there is fairly full employment. There is a lot of overtime. It seems to me that we are getting to the point where we are all working overtime in producing labour-saving equipment. This is the paradox in which we find ourselves.
In the debate on 30th April, 1959, I ventured to suggest to the Government that they would have to take a far 269 greater measure of responsibility themselves in assisting with the task of training apprentices. In his reply, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education, now the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, "pulled my leg" in his own very agreeable way. He said:But do not let us forget that on this issue the hon. Member for Newton is the only one who is in step. There is no chance whatever of convincing either side of industry at the present time that the existing system has failed and cannot meet the needs of the future. So here, the division is not between the two sides of the Committee, but between the hon. Member for Newton, on the one hand, and the Government and the British Employers' Confederation and the T.U.C. on the other."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th April, 1959: Vol. 604, col. 1586.]I wonder whether the odds are quite as heavy today as they were two years ago. It has been because of the Government's obstinancy and their refusal to accept, as most other countries have accepted, that this is a job which they cannot possibly leave to industry that we are in the present great crisis. Their failure has brought us to the point when in mid-summer this year, which will be the second highest point of the bulge—next year will be the highest—we will have a huge school-leaving population, a considerable proportion of which will wish to take up apprenticeships. It is vital to the nation that they should be able to do that. Yet the very industries which are suffering from a chronic shortage of skilled labour either cannot or will not provide sufficient apprenticeships to produce the skilled labour of which they themselves stand in such great need.
We know that the present shortages are based on a proportion of skilled to unskilled labour which must change rapidly in favour of a higher proportion of skilled labour as modern techniques develop. If this tendency goes on much longer it will condemn us to a long-term shortage of skilled labour and a permanent surplus of unskilled labour. I have tried to argue this point on many occasions in the House.
I note from the Guardian of 25th April that Professor Carter, Professor of Political Economy at Manchester University, said in Birmingham that within 25 years there would be considerable difficulty in finding any form of employment for the unskilled, untrained and those of lower intelligence. That worried 270 some of us a lot. The quotation continues:He told the last session of the conference of the National Association of Youth Employment Officers that there would be some routine jobs and some service jobs. 'But there is little doubt there will be a shortage, a contraction in the amount of unskilled work to be done. I would suggest this is probably one of the reasons why the present total of unemployment in the United States is proving quite intractable, because there has been a displacement of labour by automation, labour of a kind very difficult to absorb into any other use'".That is the kind of problem which faces us.
Let us consider the quality of apprenticeships. Many of the so-called apprentices employed by medium and small firms in this country are not taught anything except machine-minding or assembling. In fact, they are used very largely as cheap labour. Recently, I discussed this problem with a trade union official friend of mine in the area which he covers. He spoke of many small and medium-size firms in which there are far more boys than skilled men. How is it possible for those boys to be trained properly in the craft which they are supposed to be learning? Youth employment officers are glad to get the young people employed at all. They have no time for follow-up visits.
Here again, I believe that the Government are guilty of running, or trying to run, a youth employment service on a shoestring. It is certainly badly understaffed and most inadequately paid. This results in the fact that throughout the whole of our apprenticeship system, if one could grace it with the word "system", there is no quality standard. We do not demand any kind of quality test at either local or national level. It is merely the time-serving approach, which, as I know to my cost, can mean either anything or nothing.
One of the great dangers of the present position is that there has been no dramatic collapse of a previously successful national system. There is certainly none of the drama which can be associated with the collapse of, say, a nation's currency to attract headlines and to shock public opinion. The fact is that there never has been a national system to collapse.
When we advocate a system based on industry training its own apprentices, we 271 must remember that thousands of firms never have, do not now and never will associate themselves with the idea that they are part of the national machine for the training of young people. They regard themselves as being in business to make profits, not to act as teachers and people of that type. With the extension of payment by results methods, individual craftsmen who used to have apprentices working with them are concerned to make bonus and not, as they may describe it, to waste time explaining their craft to the learners. Therefore, both employers and workers are concentrated on matters other than training. It is for these reasons that I do not believe that these firms are, or ever can be, equipped for the job which we now believe to be necessary.
While referring to industrial workers, I should like to say a word or two about trade unions. They are often blamed for the comparatively slow rate of progress in this field. I belong to the A.E.U., the biggest union organising skilled labour in this country. I do not believe that that union is dedicated to a concept of apprenticeship which is merely a question of time-serving as opposed to a period of education and study. That union has agreements which permit of boys starting apprenticeships well after 16 years of age where it can be shown that they have remained at school to study subjects which give them increased knowledge of engineering techniques.
I am not basing myself on theoretical arguments. The fact is that wherever employers set up training schemes, they invariably receive the approval of the trade unionists who function in those factories. If that is the case, how can it be argued that trade unionists are in any way opposed to an enlargement of apprenticeship places or opposed to training methods which will give the boys better opportunities?
If I may weary the Committee with my own experiences, I came into the House of Commons in 1945 from Metropolitan Vickers, now Associated Electrical Industries, which had the best training scheme I have seen in any part of the world, by which we trained thousands of apprentices. It was not the case that those of us who were active 272 in the trade union movement were opposed to it. I was as proud of the scheme as were the employers, and so were most of the shop stewards who worked with me. I hope, therefore, that some of the Press—and, indeed, some hon. Members opposite—who believe that we have not yet realised that the nineteenth century has gone will face the fact that wherever an employer shows initiative of this kind, he can be assured of the co-operation of the trade unionists who work in his factory.
I am not saying that the whole of the trade unionists are at one in this. It may well be that some of them confine themselves merely to non-resistance to new techniques. I would say to them that non-resistance is but a negative virtue. What we need now is a positive approach, both from the trade unions and from the employers. If I have any voice in it, I appeal to them to go much further than they have ever gone before.
What antagonises some of the trade unions is when they see employers using boys as cheap labour with no attempt to teach them a craft and working them on piece-work conditions, which certainly are not conducive to education for those youngsters. Piece-work, in this sense, is quite incompatible with decent training.
I have mentioned engineering. I saw in the Guardian only yesterday that in his presidential address to the Conference of the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers, at Blackpool, Mr. Taylor was demanding more apprenticeships in the building industry. He recalled that the Minister of Labour had appealed last year for each firm to take on 20 per cent. more than its normal intake. The figures indicated, however, that they were not taking the numbers normally required. As a leading trade unionist, Mr. Taylor was equally concerned that in the building industry the employers should undertake the training of far more apprentices than is at present the case.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)
Will the hon. Member make any comment on the position in the printing industry?
§ Mr. Lee
I understand that in the printing industry Mr. Willis is negotiating with the employers for a far better number of training apprenticeships. I concede that the printing industry is the 273 worst industry in the sense of being restrictive in the intake of apprentices, but I have made inquiry and I understand that there is now a new concept in the the industry which will permit of more apprentices going in.
What we have to ask ourselves is, where do we go from here? I have argued that the short-term issue is lost and that in large degree the bulge has been wasted. I have said that I do not believe that industry is equipped for the longer-term problem of bringing a better more uniform type of apprenticeship to the nation. That being so, the House of Commons and the country must insist on an answer from the Government to the question of what type of system they propose to set up.
There is widespread agreement among those who have studied the problem that to attempt to make the present arrangements work is largely a waste of time. Educationists and youth employment officers have testified to this effect and the facts as I have tried to lay them down are fairly conclusive. Indeed, the Government themselves made a breach in the "Leave it all to industry" idea when, in about April, 1960, they announced that eight of their training centres previously used for the training of the disabled and of ex-Service men would be used for full-time craft instruction for the first year apprenticeship training.
They wanted to work up to a total of 300 places. The latest figures which I have—I do not know whether the Minister can give me any more recent figures—show that 132 boys, or eleven classes of 12 each, have now been obtained and are in the Government training classes. I must also point out, however, that for every boy in training, ten firms have had to be visited and that in one area the youth employment officer visited 70 firms without gaining a single recruit.
Concerning the quality of the training that is provided—I can speak from experience—I am able to give my opinion that in the Government training centres, the quality is excellent. As recently as last Friday, I visited the Government training centre at Aintree, Liverpool, which was previously, and still is, being used for training disabled people. I also saw the class of 12 young apprentices 274 who are being trained there. I was informed that, shortly, a second class would begin. Having looked at the quality of the jobs that the boys were doing, I pronounce it as first-class. They were being taught a good grounding in apprenticeship. It was an engineering class and the boys were being taught the basis of both fitting and turning. They have their day release to attend the technical college. The boys feel that they are "going places" and that they are learning.
In discussion with the instructor, who suffered the same kind of apprenticeship as I did, he estimated that the boys were taught as much in that class in twelve months as they would get in three years at any factory where he had been. When I saw the way that the class was going, I considered him guilty of an understatement. The local trade unions are co-operating and trying to make the scheme a great success.
Therefore, I ask the Minister to tell us the Government's intention. Is that scheme merely to be considered a temporary expedient this year and next year while the "bulge" is with us, or will they agree to make it a permanent feature of the training of apprentices and vastly to enlarge the numbers for whom the scheme can cater?
I have condemned—I think justifiably—the Government in this matter, but I should like to pay tribute to the Minister of Labour and the Parliamentary Secretary. I have watched with interest and sympathy their efforts to get industry to put more "bite" into the problem of training apprentices. The trouble is that the right hon. Gentleman has no powers. He can do little more than appeal to people, a large proportion of whom have not the slightest intention of helping him. Whilst paying tribute, I extend one to those firms, mostly the large ones, which deserve our appreciation for their excellent apprenticeship schemes, many of which are second to none in the world. Indeed, as recently as last month I attended a ceremony of presentation of indentures and awards, the awards in some cases being considerable sums of money.
The presentation took place at the Vulcan Foundry, which is part of English Electric, in my constituency. Such is the 275 interest that can be amused in a locality by a function at which the boys are presented with these awards that no fewer than 1,100 parents and friends assembled to mark the occasion. One could quote many instances of great firms which are doing work of this type. It is unfair to them that other firms which are capable of undertaking apprenticeship schemes should rely on poaching the finished products on the completion of their training.
We know from last year that the Minister's efforts to get joint apprenticeships schemes functioning have failed and that only four such schemes were started last year. I advise the Minister to look at the Report on Technical Education in Wales and Monmouthshire. There, a great deal of good work is being done. Some firms, I understand, are banding together to ensure that a group apprenticeship scheme shall be established. The principals of technical colleges are assisting firms and, especially in places like Swansea, Port Talbot and Llanelly, there are promises of further groups in 1961. I hope that any publicity which this debate receives will include the idea of studying the Report which I have just quoted from that area of high educational standards in the Principality.
I should like to divert for a moment from the long-term argument to look at the Government's latest contribution to apprenticeship training. I refer to the payroll tax. The Government send the Minister of Labour chasing round the country appealing to employers to take more school leavers than they need and to train them as apprentices, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer slaps on a payroll tax as an impost on the same employers for daring to assist the Minister of Labour by employing more labour than they require.
§ Mr. Lee
I hope that he never does, but that is the threat under which we are working. One can well understand the effect on aprenticeships in the special areas while that kind of nonsense is threatened.
We on this side will oppose the payroll tax in our debates on the Finance 276 Bill. We would like to be able to move an Amendment to impose a levy on all firms using skilled labour with provision for rebates for firms training future craftsmen. The Opposition cannot move Amendments which would increase taxation. Therefore, we are driven to the point of only being able to ask for rebates to firms who are doing a good job in this respect. I ask the Minister of Labour to consult his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this matter and see whether he would agree that even at this stage, the Government would reconsider—
§ Mr. Lee
I was "chancing my arm" on that one, Sir Gordon. It was because I was fairly sure that the Government would not do it and that, therefore, there would not be legislation, that I tried it.
In that respect, I draw attention to a resolution passed by the Institute of Youth Employment Officers at its annual meeting on 25th April this year. I quote:The Institute of Youth Employment Officers views with concern the proposal announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Speech on Monday, 17th April. 1961, that the Government take powers to impose a payroll tax on employers. The Institute fears that the threat of the imposition of such a tax could have a serious adverse effect on the recruitment of young people by industry, commerce and the professions at a time when employers are being exhorted to increase their intake of, and improve the training given to, school leavers.It resolves to request that the Minister of Labour should receive a deputation to discuss the implication of a payroll tax for young people in employment, and to consider methods of alleviating the ill effects which could result from the imposition of such a tax.I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, who knows the value of the Youth Service, will be moved by that kind of appeal and will do something of the nature indicated by it.
I want, also, to refer to two other things before closing my speech. One is the experiment which Middlesex County Council is now trying. It is considering a scheme of group apprenticeship. Time will not allow me to go into detail about it, but I hope that the example of Middlesex will commend 277 itself to all other local education authorities. It is a splendid scheme by which the education authorities themselves will use technical colleges for the training of apprentices and pay for the training. In every way this is a most advanced course which deserves our congratulations.
We also have the Report on technical education in Wales, by the Central Advisory Council for Education. In that Report there are many very well worthwhile recommendations, one of which is the setting up of a national apprenticeship council, a suggestion with which I entirely agree although the idea that it should be under the aegis of the Ministry of Education does not appeal to me. I would prefer it to be under the Ministry of Labour. I suggest that it is now beyond doubt that we require a national apprenticeship council with executive powers conferred on it by this House and sufficient finance to carry into effect the decisions it makes. I think that there should be national and regional councils for such industries as engineering, building and other large users of skilled labour. Such councils should be composed of representatives of the employers, trade unions, professional institutions, education authorities and the Ministry of Labour.
Having lost the battle of the bulge, and lost it because we have no efficient apprenticeship system in Britain, it is now utterly essential that the Government should accept that we cannot go on year after year with the Opposition using a Supply Day to bring these great problems to their notice so that they look at them and then forget them for another twelve months. The Government have a responsibility to the nation. Many thousands of youngsters who are capable and willing to take on apprenticeship schemes are now condemned to go into blind alley occupations because of this fiddling about with a system which never really existed and never can exist.
I suggest that we take an example from the more enlightened schemes abroad and use our educational facilities to give our youngsters equal practice and theory in learning their craft and an opportunity to learn the new skills upon which our ability as a great nation to hold our own in the world into which we are moving will depend. Then, instead of the dismal spectacle of hundreds of thousands of people being driven into blind alley 278 occupations, we may so organise ourselves as to give them a chance to become craftsmen and technicians of ability who can serve the nation well in future.
§ 4.29 p.m.
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. John Hare)
The hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) has made a very interesting speech. It was a curious speech in that part of it was composed of sentiments which would be very difficult for any of us to disagree with, and which I found interesting and thoughtful, while other parts showed a considerable lack of balance in the examination of this problem. It would have appeared to an outsider listening to the hon. Gentleman that, to use his words, we have the opportunity of the bulge and have wasted it; and that it is a waste of time to rely on an existing apprenticeship system, a system which the hon. Member says is non-existent. Statements of that sort were a great exaggeration and were extremely insulting to employers and trade unions who have worked on these systems and are doing so much to improve them.
Therefore, I take considerable exception to some of the things the hon. Member said, but, at the same time, I congratulate him and his right hon. and hon. Friends on having provided this subject for a Supply Day. I do not take a party point of view on this, but welcome the debate very much indeed. Many of us were extremely disappointed that through no fault of ours the debate had to be put off three weeks ago. In the event, as the hon. Member said, there could be no better time in which this debate could be held than in the middle of Commonwealth Technical Training Week. I associate myself with what the hon. Member said about the magnificent launching of the Week by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at the Guildhall last Monday.
I also agree with the hon. Member in his obviously passionate plea about the importance of training and the supreme opportunity that this bulge gives us not only to provide useful jobs for boys and girls, but also to provide a very useful addition to our pool of skilled labour. This whole subject of apprenticeship and training raises issues of vital importance both for the working lives of our young people and for our 279 whole future as an industrial country. From some of the things which the hon. Member said, one might have thought that in industry nothing was being done and that my right hon. Friends the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland were taking no interest in technical education. That is not a fair accusation for the hon. Member to make. The recent White Paper "Better Opportunities in Technical Education" is merely one example of the tremendous energy and zeal which my right hon. Friends are putting into the whole subject.
In addition to being vitally important, I agree with the hon. Member that these problems are of great urgency, because this year and next year more boys and girls will leave school than at any time since the war. I should like to take up a number of points raised by the hon. Member so that I may put the matter into a calmer and fairer perspective than in the speech to which we have just listened. We all agree that the problem is serious. I wish to give the Committee a few facts, which must include quite a few figures.
At Easter this year, nearly 120,000 boys and girls left school. Six weeks later, 99 out of every 100 of them were at work. In spite of this large influx of people into industry, the number of vacancies outstanding at youth employment offices had gone up from 101,000 before Easter to 113,000 in early May. In May, taking the country as a whole, for every young person unemployed, there were nine outstanding vacancies compared with six twelve months ago. My hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) made a very pertinent point when he interrupted the hon. Member for Newton.
In the London and South-Eastern Region, there were 16 outstanding vacancies for every one unemployed and in the East and West Ridings there were 18 and in the Midlands, 23. I will give the figures for Scotland, Wales and the Northern Region, because we have to look at this entire matter in the fairest and most dispassionate way possible. There, the situation is much less favourable. For every young person unemployed, there were more than two unfilled vacancies; but even in those three areas, I am happy to say that 98 280 out of every 100 boys and girls who left school at Easter were in jobs within six weeks.
Compared with a year ago, there has been a rapid reduction in the numbers of unemployed and a marked increase in the number of vacancies, particularly for boys. If the level of demand for young workers keeps up, the vast majority of the large contingents of boys and girls leaving school this year and next year—and next year is very important because even more will be leaving then—can expect not only jobs but a reasonable choice of job. I have shown that the situation is not equally good in all parts of the country. There are these very important variations.
It is Government policy to give special help to areas where employment prospects are less good. Even in those areas, there are shortages of certain types of skilled workers. In every part of the country industrial expansion is being held up by these shortages. I therefore say that the bulge represents a golden opportunity to make up these deficiencies and to increase the size of our skilled labour force. These skilled men and women are vital to our economy.
The figures I have given deal with the employment side of the problem. I shall now give the Committee some figures which show how things are going in training. I will supplement some of the statistics put forward by the hon. Member. I deal, first, with that part of training which is provided through apprenticeships and learnerships. I shall try to clear up the query the hon. Member had in mind. In 1960, although about 7,000 fewer boys left school than in 1959, the numbers who got apprenticeships or learnerships increased by 4,300. The figures in which the hon. Member is interested are broken down as follows: apprenticeships for boys and girls taken together averaged out at about 22.5 per cent. in 1960 compared with 21 per cent. in 1959. In 1960, for boys alone the percentage was 36 per cent. as against 33.6 per cent. in 1959, and for girls only it was 7.6 per cent. in 1960 compared with 7.4 per cent. in 1959. The total number of boys who got apprenticeships or learnerships in 1960 was 103,000.
The average over the years 1950–58 and the figure for 1958 itself was 93,000. 281 In the last two years, therefore, the figure has risen by more than 10 per cent. There has also been an encouraging increase in the amount of training at levels above craft apprenticeship. The Minister of Education can verify this. With wider educational opportunities available more young people are going into jobs at higher levels of skill and qualification particularly in scientific and technical employment.
There are at present about 106,000 young men and women at university compared with 85,000 ten years ago. Almost another 100,000 are taking advanced courses outside the universities often in conjunction with employment. When talking of opportunities for school leavers it is very easy to forget that more and more boys and girls are every year staying at school beyond the age of 18. They represent a tremendous potential addition to the country's supply of highly trained manpower. Of boys and girls under 18, 1960 saw an increase of 9 per cent. going into jobs leading to professional qualifications compared with the previous year. There has also been a continuing increase over recent years in the numbers of boys and girls going into clerical occupations.
These often offer opportunities for advancement and provide for girls the nearest comparable field of employment to apprenticeships for boys. I hope that the girls will not be forgotten. We are very apt to forget the girls—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—in connection with this subject. Last year, no fewer than 38 per cent. of girls who left school to start work entered clerical employment.
The range of work covered by apprenticeships is wider than most people realise. We might remember that there is an apprenticeship scheme for jockeys. I do not know whether the jockey of the winner of the Derby, which, I am told, was Psidium, ever benefited from an apprenticeship scheme; but it shows how wide is the range of apprenticeships.
§ Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)
The current number of the Ministry of Labour Gazette shows the apprenticeships. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what kind of apprenticeship is served in the betting industry? We have 16 down as apprentices in the betting industry.
§ Mr. Hare
I can guarantee that the hon. Member will get a detailed reply from my hon. Friend, who knows more about that than I do. My point is that, wide though the range of apprenticeships may be, it is absolutely wrong for us to limit our thinking merely to apprenticeships and learnerships. The hon. Gentleman referred to the figure of 20 per cent. which is sometimes quoted as the proportion of school leavers under 18 who enter skilled occupations. That figure is correct, but it covers both boys and girls and relates only to those occupations which are entered through apprenticeships or learnerships. It does not cover the many occupations for which training is needed but which are not covered by apprenticeship or learnership schemes. Industry is taking an increasing interest in the training of the non-apprentice. The reports which I have from the Youth Employment Service show that the amount of training of this kind going on is, I am glad to say, very considerable.
The picture which I have given to the Committee is rather different from the picture given by the hon. Member. So far as it goes, it is not all that un-encouraging. For this we owe a great deal to the Industrial Training Council, and, despite what the hon. Member has said, I should like to pay a very warm tribute to the Council for all it is doing. It is very easy to criticise the Council, because it has had to proceed by the slow method of persuasion and has not been able to announce spectacular changes with a flourish of trumpets. But I am quite sure that the work of the Council has contributed very greatly to the progress which has been made.
The real testing time—and here I agree again with the hon. Gentleman-is immediately ahead. Here, I certainly have no feeling of complacency, and I do not think that any one of us should 283 have such a feeling. The progress made must be stepped up to keep pace with the bigger numbers of school leavers this year and next. Last year—and I promise the Committee that these are the last figures I shall quote—550,000 boys and girls left school. This year there will be 660,000, and next year 720,000. Those are the figures for Great Britain.
To impress on both sides of industry the need for more training, the Industrial Training Council has recently called a series of conferences throughout the country, to which the hon. Gentleman referred. All these conferences have been addressed by members of the Council and nearly all by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary or myself. We have both been heartened by the interest taken in the conferences and by the very genuine and lively appreciation shown on all sides of the need for an even greater effort in the immediate future.
Following these conferences, regional committees have been set up by the Industrial Training Council. The members of these committees will represent both sides of local industry and—this is important—there is provision for the co-option of representatives of local educational bodies and others who can contribute to the committees' work. The main function of these committees will be to keep under review and to encourage arrangements for recruitment and training during the peak years of the bulge. My Department will give the committees every possible assistance and the secretariat is being provided by the regional offices of my Ministry. I believe that with their strong local ties—and I am a great believer in the strength of local ties—these committees will provide a most valuable reinforcement to the measures that have been taken to encourage increased training during the next few years.
There is another point which the hon. Member was quite right to mention. Besides quantity there is the vital question of the quality of training. In many firms, apprentices are grounded in a wide range of operations and have the benefit of supporting technical education. At the end of their apprenticeships, they are sought after as adult workers because of their competence 284 over a wide field of skilled work. As a result, they enjoy the virtual certainty of security of employment. But, let us face it, in other firms the training is much more narrow and often consists of little more than sitting by a skilled worker and watching how he does it. This way of acquiring knowledge is sometimes referred to as "sitting by Nellie". There may be some interesting pieces of information that boys acquire in this way, but in my opinion industrial skill is not one of them.
As we all know, traditionally the framework of apprenticeship agreements has been settled between the two sides of industry as an industrial relations matter. Almost without exception, these schemes contain provisions covering what might be termed the industrial relations aspect of apprenticeships—such as age of entry, duration of apprenticeship, the formal responsibilities of the parties to indentures, and the procedure laid down for settling differences. Less attention has been paid to the content and methods of training.
Yet there have been big changes in techniques in most industries in the last decade. There will probably be even bigger ones during the next ten years. The need for the trades unions to take account of these changes was stressed by the hon. Member this afternoon. It was also stressed very dramatically by the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter), who is not in the Chamber this afternoon, in a notable speech he made last week. He spoke on this theme again last Monday. But it is equally important that employers, too, should take account of these changes—and every one concerned with the problem of training in industry.
It is not merely today's conditions that we have to think about. The boy entering industry today has a working life in front of him of about 50 years. The question that we must ask ourselves is: will our present methods of training stand up to the test of that length of time? I doubt it. I feel sure that the time has come for industry to have a fresh look at the content and methods of training. There are encouraging signs that leaders on both sides of industry are becoming increasingly aware of the desirability and, what is even more important, the urgency of this.
285 One important way of improving the quality of training would be for employers to make greater use of the facilities available for further education. At present many apprentices do not get day release, though this is regularly recommended in apprenticeship schemes. I am afraid that this is particularly true of Scotland. In my opinion the whole country would benefit, too, if employers made greater use of block release courses.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what conclusion has been reached by his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education on the question of day release by right?
§ Mr. Richard Marsh (Greenwich)
The right hon. Gentleman has raised a point which is the crux of the question of day release. He said that this is an important problem—with which we all agree—and that some employers are not making use of these schemes. Surely we are entitled to ask what he intends to do about this. This is a debate on apprenticeships, and he has raised a question which affects the issue very much. We should hear from him not only what is wrong with the present situation but what the Ministry can do about it.
§ Mr. Hare
I have pointed out that this matter is being discussed by my right hon. Friend and others concerned. Already, I am glad to say, there has been an increase in the numbers released. My right hon. Friend reminds me that there were 35,000 more last October than the year before. Things are moving in the right way.
Industrial processes are becoming more and more complicated. As a result, the skilled worker who has the underlying basis of theoretical knowledge to master new machines and to adapt himself to new techniques is at a premium. Industry must face the fact that it will not have sufficient workers 286 of this sort in the future unless it is prepare to give its young employees the chance of regular further education.
Fortunately, there are many employers who would agree with this. But there are others who say, "Why should we bother to train? Others do not." In one of the major apprentice-training industries, only 40 per cent. of the firms train apprentices The remainder prefer to poach trained men. I have no doubt that other industries can match this state of affairs.
In the short run, the non-training firms can claim that they save trouble and expense. But I do not believe for one moment that in the long term this policy serves even their own particular selfish interests, because both by their own failure to train and by discouraging other firms from training they contribute to the general shortage of skilled labour which has constantly hampered our economy during the last few years.
One has to be fair and to admit that for some firms, particularly small firms, training raises real difficulties. The Government have been trying to help the smaller firms in two ways. The first is by providing demonstration courses for the first-year training of apprentices in Government training centres. I am glad that the hon. Member for Newton went to see the course at Aintree. They are first-class courses. Although there was some difficulty in getting them started, we are having no difficulty in continuing them. They serve as demonstration courses to show employers how they can get together and provide these training facilities by such means.
The second and probably far more important way, as hon. Members will agree, in which the Government is helping, through the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland, is by encouraging education authorities to co-operate with industry in providing first-year and pre-apprenticeship training courses for young people in technical colleges.
I have mentioned—I hope the House will agree quite frankly—some of the shortcomings of our present pattern of industrial training. But I have tried, perhaps for different reasons from those of the hon. Member for Newton, to try to put these fairly and in perspective. Understandably, these weaknesses have 287 produced a variety of proposed remedies involving more or less radical departures from the underlying policy of industry's responsibility for the practical training of its skilled workers. It was for this reason that the hon. Member for Newton made certain parts of his speech. It has been suggested, for example, that the Government should provide subsidies to relieve firms of some of the expense of training. It has also been argued that central or local government should itself do much more industrial training than is provided by the limited schemes to which I have referred.
Such a far-reaching change would be contrary to the recommendation of the Carr Committee, which has been accepted by the Government, and would be contrary to the considered views of the leaders of both employers and trade unions. Here I must take the hon. Member for Newton to task. He cannot just dismiss the leaders of the trade unions and say that they do not know what they want or what they think. I could not accept that. I hope that on further reflection he will admit that he exaggerated his case.
I hope that hon. Members realise that I do not regard the details of our present system of industrial training as sacrosanct. In fact, changes are continually taking place. But I do not think that an adequate case has yet been made out for departing from the fundamental principles which are at present accepted by the Government, the employers and the trade unions. It is no use saying that what we intend to do has already failed, because the hon. Member for Newton cannot tell me that, nor can anybody else.
Even if it were accepted that the hon. Member was right and that a major change was required, I do not believe that the present is the time to make it. For the next two years all our efforts must be devoted to expanding the training opportunities for the young people leaving school in that period. I have given the figures. To try to make a major change now, whatever its long-term effect, would merely upset the existing working of industry's training schemes. It would do what no hon. Member wants—it would reduce for the time being the opportunities available 288 to young people instead of increasing them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because it would discourage employers from going ahead with schemes on which they are already embarked.
There is no reason, however, why we should close our minds to the possibility of modifying the present arrangements so as to make them work better, provided that we do not alter the basic concept that training for industrial skill is a matter for industry.
A number of proposals have attracted a good deal of attention. One was mentioned by the hon. Member for Newton. The hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) is also interested in it. He has drawn the attention of the House to it and has mentioned it in the Press. This method would offer a means of stimulating employers to do more training by equalising to some extent the financial burden between those who provide training and those who do not. It is true that a scheme of this sort operates fairly successfully in France. I have on several occasions suggested that industry might consider the advantages of such an arrangement. With the co-operation of the French Government, officials of my Department and of the Ministry of Education have recently been to France to look at its operation in practice, and their report is being studied by the Government.
I have tried to make clear to the Committee how much importance the Government attach to the industrial training of our young people. I have quoted statistics and I have talked about machines and techniques. But it is not statistics, machines or techniques with which we are dealing today. We are dealing with human beings, and in many cases we are dealing with our own sons and daughters. Many of the boys and girls who will be leaving school during the next eighteen months are the children of the very employers and trade union members on whose decisions so much depends.
This debate, I am certain, will show the importance which the House attaches to the need for everyone in industry to match up to the size of the problem and to seize the opportunity which the bulge represents. But I should like to go further. I should like to ask every Member to use all the influence that he or she can exert in every constituency 289 in the country to make clear to employers and trade unions alike the need to take a fresh look at this question of training—to put aside out-of-date attitudes and to think only in terms of what is relevant in this second-half of the twentieth century. Only in this way will our young people obtain the training which they require to lead fuller and happier lives, and at the same time to make their own contribution to the future prosperity of our country.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. John Robertson (Paisley)
I have hesitated to inflict myself upon the House, but sooner or later the hazard of a maiden speech has to be undertaken. I hope that in this ordeal hon. Members will extend to me their customary kindness and understanding.
The constituency which I have the honour to represent consists entirely of the town of Paisley. It is an ancient and very gracious town, steeped in the history of Scotland. It has a pleasant town centre, and its twelfth century Abbey would be a credit to any town in the country. The care which has so obviously been taken in the layout and design of the new housing areas is an indication of the pride which the Paisley "buddies", as they are called, have in their native town.
Throughout the years, the craftsmen of Paisley have been renowned for their skill, not only at their respective trades but also in the gentle art of political disputation. A statesman of great renown who once graced these benches coined the phrase, "Keep your eye on Paisley". The constituency was considered to be something of a political barometer. I might perhaps be allowed to express the thought, or at least the hope, that the barometer is now set at "Fair". That quotation later became the election slogan of yet another famous statesman, Mr. Asquith as he then was, who represented the constituency for a time.
Another of my predecessors, Mr. Rosslyn Mitchell, will be remembered for a very famous speech which he made in the House. Lord Provost James Welsh, Oliver Baldwin, later Lord Corvedale, and my immediate predecessor, Mr. Douglas Johnston, now Lord Johnston, served the constituency with great distinction. I can hardly hope 290 to match their eloquence or wit, but if honest endeavour has any merit at all, then I may yet hope to play some part, however small, in the workings of this House and to serve my constituents well.
Paisley is proud of the skill of her craftsmen in textiles, shipbuilding, engineering and a variety of other industries. In these last years, however, more of her young men and women have had to seek their opportunities elsewhere than in their native town. In this they face the same problem as many other parts of Scotland—an increasing number of school-leavers with no increase in the number of openings in suitable skilled occupations.
Any discussion of apprenticeship and training for industry in Scotland must begin from this point. The first essential is more skilled work. The facts concerning employment and unemployment in Scotland are well known and need no repeating. What is not known is the number of young people who, having all the attributes for skilled work, are having to find employment in dead-end jobs. Even if we could measure their numbers, we could never measure the frustration and the disappointment which result from such a situation.
I can find no disagreement anywhere about the need for more skilled workers. It is accepted by everyone that Britain cannot long continue as a first-rate industrial Power if our potential skill is squandered and lost to us. But in spite of this knowledge, in spite of the exhortations from the Minister and in spite of all the persuasiveness of the many people who are deeply interested in this problem, the position, in Scotland at any rate, is gradually worsening.
For instance, the total number of apprenticeships in engineering has decreased—and this at a time when there has been considerable unemployment among young people, and at a time when, paradoxically, there has been a marked shortage of skilled workers. In these last two or three years, of course, the shortage of skilled workers has been partly met by dilution, but it must be obvious to anyone that dilution cannot be a final solution.
As a matter of fact, it is dilution of skill that has contributed to our present 291 situation. We are now reaping the harvest of undue specialisation, and the de-skilling of the traditional trades that until very recently has been a feature of the engineering industry. The fact that a boy was given the title of apprentice may have been reassuring to his parents and may have given him a certain social status, but it did not necessarily mean that he was given a training in the skills of his craft. More often than not, the needs of production were over-riding, and were managements' first concern. A boy spent five years on one job and one machine. Those years were looked on by the boy as a period to be served until full wages could be earned. If he was on piece work or payment by results there was a disincentive for him to seek a change. The consequence was not just that there was another inadequately-trained tradesman but, more important still, the pride of craft, the sense of responsibility was missing.
I have been speaking in the past tense, but in far too many cases that still remains the case today. Industry is training far too many one-skill workers—and industry will suffer for it. Need I say that inferior labour is not cheap labour? The more progressive firms recognise this fact, and I do not mind how the word "progressive" is defined. One might consider that it applies to those firms that pay the highest wages and give the best working conditions, or one may think that it applies to those firms that make the highest profit and give the consumer the better deal. In my experience, they are usually one and the same firms, and it is precisely these firms that make the most extensive provision for apprentice training.
One might ask whether it is the prosperity of those firms that enables them to be so generous with training, or whether it is that the quality and quantity of the training contributes substantially to their success. I do not know the answer, but, in the absence of other evidence, I draw the conclusion that there is a connection, and that adequate training does make some contribution to the well-being of industry.
What we have to do is to ensure that the standards of the better firms are attained throughout industry, and I am satisfied that that can never be if it is left to industry itself. I want to see 292 apprenticeship being considered as a continuation of the period of full-time education. I want to see the transition from the classroom to the workshop made a more gradual process. I should like to see the training put under the control either of education authorities or of joint apprenticeship committees representing both sides of industry and the education authorities. This applies particularly to small firms; I cannot see them evolving effective group schemes. Some measure of compulsion seems necessary, and this may well begin with compulsory day release.
The trouble about training is that so many firms are unable to project their minds beyond their present needs. So long as present production is allowed to determine the kind of training to be given, so long will training be inadequate. Firms that are doing a good job of training are becoming very resentful about the activities of the "pirate" firms who find that it is cheaper to pay a little more for a fully-skilled and well-trained journeyman than themselves to engage in training and, naturally, the best skills are attracted to those firms. One firm estimated that if cost about £1,000 to train each apprentice. One can understand why that particular employer is advocating a policy of spreading the cost of training throughout industry.
In my part of the country, recruitment is the most immediate problem, and it can be assumed that if the present trend continues there will be considerable numbers of young people who will be unable to enter into apprenticeships. Is it beyond the ingenuity of industry and the Government to devise ways and means of making good use of this potential skill, even if, at the moment, there are no jobs actually available?
Two or three things suggest themselves in this conection. Would it be naïve to suggest that we could raise the school-leaving age? Again, pre-apprenticeship courses could be provided for every boy and girl likely to benefit from such training. It might even be possible to extend the facilities for first-year full-time training for apprenticeships, so that the incidence of the "bulge" could be spread over a longer period. Again, as has already been mentioned, cost is a factor that prevents many firms from taking on more apprentices, and this might be looked at.
293 Another difficulty in relation to technical education is lack of knowledge of the numbers and categories of apprenticeships. I shall not go into all the arguments; it is enough to say that there is widespread support on both sides of industry for a national register of apprentices.
It might well be that some of the long-established customs and practices in industry need revision. I feel sure that the trade union movement will not lightly discard those practices, but I feel sure, too, that if the necessary assurances could be given, if the trade unions could be satisfied that the intention was not to get a supply of cheap labour but to make a genuine investment in the interest of the country, managements would not find them unwilling to co-operate.
A recent youth conference organised by my own union, the A.E.U., passed a resolution which expressed the opinion that the present system and period of apprenticeship is outdated, and urged the need for an examination of a four-year apprenticeship. That, at least, is an indication of the way in which trade unions and trade unionists are thinking.
I should be the last to suggest that there is an easy solution, but one thing is certain. We shall not solve our common problems without common discussion, and some one has to take the initiative. I should like to appeal to employers to think beyond the present circumstances, and to do what has to be done for the good of the country and of the country's youth. I would say to my friends in the trade union movement, "Remember that the young people whom we are discussing today are the children of trade unionists. They deserve the best we can give them. We are all in this together, and we all have a responsibility for finding solutions."
To the Government, I would make a plea for haste—and I would make a special plea for the young people of Paisley and of Scotland. Perhaps I may be allowed to quote Lord Beaconsfield once more. He said:What you should do…is to go to Scotland; go to the Glasgow district; that City itself, and Paisley and Kilmarnock—keep your eye on Paisley. I am much mistaken if there will not soon be a state of things there which alone will break up the whole concern".That is true. The time for talking has passed; what we need now is action.
§ 5.16 p.m.
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
It is a very great pleasure to me to congratulate the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Robertson) on his thoughtful and engaging maiden speech. It does not seem so very long since I made my own maiden speech, and if he felt as many butterflies as I felt then, and still do, I also extend him my sympathy. The hon. Member obviously spoke on a subject of which he knew a great deal. A number of his points were of very great substance, and I shall try to deal with one or two of them.
I agreed very much with his remarks about the form of apprenticeship. It is wrong for any boy to be put in a position where, during the period of his training, he works on payment by results. He is then interested in the money he is receiving and does not insist on moving properly through a system of training. He tends then to end in a back-alley job, even though he is an apprentice. Employers should guard very closely against that.
We are discussing this subject during Commonwealth Training Week. I hope that we shall not treat Commonwealth Training Week as we treat so many flag days; when we think about the causes and "cough up" for them only on one day a year. I hope that people will not be interested in apprenticeship and training only for the one week and then forget it for the rest of the year.
This subject is particularly important while we face what, for want of a better word, we call the "bulge". Many people—too many people—think of the "bulge" as a problem that one has to try to solve, but I think that we shall tackle it far better if we think of it not as a problem but as an opportunity that will not come again, and also as a challenge.
Let us face one other thing. At all times of national emergency our greatest problem has been shortage of skilled labour. Even now we are still suffering from the tail end of the dilution that we accepted during the last war. That dilution brought in its train many problems, and some of them are still with us today.
It is important also to recognise that most of the opposition, even though it be only negative opposition, to training 295 extra people is based in many cases upon fear.
Most people, whatever their job, tend to assume that the industry or firm in which they are employed will go through the years in a state of stagnation. They tend to look upon the training of apprentices purely from the point of view of the replacement of natural wastage. They never seem to assume that the industry or firm will expand its production and will, in the future, require not only a certain number of apprentices in order to cover wastage but an expansion of skilled labour if it is to fill its needs for the future.
The hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) was asked about the position of the printing industry, and that is a matter which gives point to what we are discussing. The assumption was that the printing industry would employ, and would need to employ, a certain global number of workers every year for eternity. Yet through the years we have seen the demands made on the printing industry increasing, demands which have had to be fulfilled by the same number of workers. In some cases, unfortunately, people have had to go to the Continent to have their printing done because the printing industry in this country was overworked with its existing labour force. I hope and believe that this example will at least show to those engaged in the industry that by working together and by accepting the fact that the industry may expand they can prepare for future needs. At the moment skilled labour is at a premium, in whatever industry it has been trained.
If we can do more within industry in the retraining programme for adult labour which has already had a basic skilled training, then there is no reason at all why that skilled labour should not move from one industry into a totally different industry if the need arises. By adopting this attitude we should be able to allow the industries which are best equipped to solve our problems at any given moment to expand and others, because they are not solving the immediate problem, to relax a little.
On the question of apprenticeships, it is important for us to remember that we are a very densely populated island and are very short of raw materials. 296 Surely our greatest profitability as a nation is the best use of our skilled labour for the converting of those raw materials which we have to buy from abroad and selling them back overseas when they have been processed.
As the hon. Member for Newton pointed out, if we develop purely along a certain line because of a shortage of skilled labour it will lead to our concentrating only on products which can be produced by semi-skilled people, and we shall find that the actual labour content will be so small that the nation will not be able to enjoy the benefits which it should enjoy if a proper use were made of its full labour force.
As I said before, the whole question of a narrow training of apprentices can be dangerous. If everybody in industry were prepared to realise that apprentices do not necessarily stay in the same firm or even in the same industry then, I believe, the basic fear that underlies much of the opposition, even if it is only negative opposition, to increase apprenticeships will vanish, and we shall be able to give a proper training to more and more people.
There is the difficulty of certain firms who are better equipped for training far more apprentices than they themselves really need. Many of them do this purely altruistically. The firm in which I and the hon. Member for Newton were employed is now part of the A.E.I. group. Many of the apprentices trained by the firm finally went to all parts of the world. It is only natural, if an A.E.I.-trained man becomes a power station engineer or holds an even higher office in a power station in some other part of the world, that if at any time it is necessary to put more generating equipment into that station the order for it will be placed with the firm whose equipment the man understands and in which he has been trained. Therefore, there is a little bit of export content in the training of apprentices.
I remember that when I went to the West Indies some years ago almost the first person I met there was a superintendent of a power station who served his apprenticeship at the same works and at the same time that I served mine. When he took me into the power station I saw that all the equipment had been produced by the firm in which we were 297 trained. We should not lose sight of that aspect of apprenticeship. Indeed, we should concentrate on it as much as we can.
There is, of course, the difficulty that some firms which could be equipped to train apprentices, just take advantage of those who have been trained by other firms. They tend to recruit purely adult labour and are not prepared to go to what they call the bother of training apprentices themselves, even in order to make certain that they are able to cover the wastage in their own industry. I believe that that is one of the things which all firms and all industries should be prepared to accept. It is their responsibility. The firms who do not train their own apprentices are at the present time finding great difficulty in recruiting the skilled labour which they need. They are paying the price for not having played their part over the years in training sufficient apprentices.
The point which has been made by every speaker so far in the debate on the question of the content of the training is something which is extremely important. The type of training is probably the most important matter of all. The fact that everyone accepts that an apprenticeship shall start at the age of 16 and shall end at the age of 21 is not enough. What matters is what happens during the period of training between those ages. Apprenticeship should never be an excuse for cheap labour. If a firm just wants cheap labour, then it should be frank about it. It should take on young labour on the direct understanding that what they are offering is only a blind alley job. The person concerned would then know what his or her future was likely to be.
For these reasons, I believe that in every firm that has apprentices there should be an apprenticeship committee upon which should sit members of the unions concerned. Such a committee would be able to work out the best possible programme of training. The trade union representatives would make certain that the training was as wide as possible and that the youngster would get as wide a range of knowledge as he possibly could. They would also make certain that there was no chance of boys and girls entering into a so-called apprenticeship and then being put on to a 298 machine or on to piecework and probably never moving from that job for the rest of their apprenticeship. As was said earlier, the fact that a boy or girl on piecework is receiving a nice little income at that time means that he or she is not prepared to push forward and move on to the proper rung of training.
Many believe that the need for skill is decreasing with modern developments. I believe exactly the opposite. I see this in particular in connection with the development of automation and the greater use of hydraulics, electronics and pneumatics. Certain machine and plant operators may not need to be highly skilled, but the machine-tool fitter and the electrician needs higher skills than ever before to make certain that the new complex machines are properly set and maintained so that full value can be obtained from them.
Industry, therefore, must concentrate on giving the right incentive to new apprentices to these jobs. In many of these jobs, such as those of millwrights, machine-tool fitters, and electricians, it is difficult to work out a system of payments by results, and yet more and more a higher standard of skill is required from those same people. Even in the case of the man who is producing the jigs and fixtures to enable the pieceworker to earn more money, it is difficult to work out a system of payments by results.
It is essential, therefore, that sufficient incentive should be given to bright boys to enter apprenticeships in those lines rather than that they should be allowed to feel that they must accept low wages when they are attending evening apprenticeship schools, at a time when probably others are taking their girls out, and they know that at the end of the day they will be walking out with less money than the semi-skilled operatives who as a result of their efforts are able to take large sums home. Special attention must be given to seeing that this kind of apprentice is given the right incentive so that we may continue to develop more complex machinery and have people able to set, handle and maintain them.
The Carr Report on Training for Skill has been mentioned several times in the debate, and I think that we are all extremely grateful for it. On demarcation 299 difficulties, a problem of which we hear a great deal today, the Report states:The demarcation difficulties that occur today between men in different occupations arise from the fear that technical change will lead to the disappearance of the need for a particular skill, with a consequent loss of a man's course of livelihood.I think that we would all agree with that.
The Report continues:But the proper way to dispose of it is to equip the individual to meet change by giving him a wider range of skill so that as industrial requirements alter he will be sufficiently adaptable to cope with them.Far more notice should be taken of that sentence in the Report than has been taken up to the present.
The hon. Member for Paisley has already asked the controversial question: what is magic about the period of five years or the age of 21? There must be something magic about it, because all sorts of agreements have been entered into on that basis. It is rather ridiculous that we still accept the fact today that whatever trade a person enters into it will take exactly five years, no more and no less, to train him in that skill. Everybody recognises that there are skills which need more than five years for their development, but there are others for which five yeas are not needed. We must be far more flexible in our attitude towards this subject.
Many enlightened employers are accepting this fact. I know of circumstances in the company where I worked when advantage was taken of the fact that a boy who had entered on a five-year apprenticeship as a machinist or fitter showed aptitude for the job and arrangements were made whereby he was transferred to a higher level of apprenticeship. Later, if he showed aptitude and ability in technical and workshop practice, he could go on to a higher standard of engineering apprenticeship. More and more people ought to take note of these ideas and we ought to ask ourselves whether this five-year period must remain for ever.
The hon. Member for Newton and myself among others visited Western Germany a few years ago to study technical education there. While in many cases the German attitude seemed to be far more inflexible than ours, in others it was more flexible. We ought 300 to take note of ideas, wherever they come from, which seem best fitted to modern conditions. The Germans, of course, were in the happy position that their chambers of commerce had far more control and so were able to set out standards of apprenticeship which required a set examination and which laid down criteria which apprentices had to fulfil if they were to be classed as skilled persons. Even so, these apprentices were going on to a skilled job long before they reached the age of 21.
If we are to meet more and more competition from this type of labour it is important that we should take advantage of some of the lessons that have been learned in Germany and elsewhere. Our basic British attitude would not permit us to go as far as the Germans do in setting out strict job criteria. But they do have certain advantages, and we should take note of them.
The Industrial Training Council has made progress, I believe, but the question is whether that progress is enough. A number of my colleagues and I spent some time producing a report, which has now been issued, on all the reports brought forward about education and youth. In our report we made a number of suggestions, particularly about the training of apprentices. We said:At the same time, we are well aware of the Industrial Training Council's limitations, and we recommend that careful thought be given to the possibility of strengthening and developing its functions…. Although the smaller firms in Britain are the biggest employers of skilled labour in the aggregate, most of them are not members of the British Employers' Confederation; nor, for that matter, are the Federation of British Industries, the National Union of Manufacturers, or the Association of British Chambers of Commerce and their affiliated associations represented on the Council. It has only recently approached the trade associations with their special opportunities for training schemes. We wish to see the secretariat of the Industrial Training Council adequately strengthened to fulfil its function.Those words should be taken note of, because, if there is to be an Industrial Training Council, we should do everything we can to see that all the interests concerned are properly represented, for in that way we could get over to them the urgency of the problem.
The urgency can be pointed out in this way. If the present retiring age continues, 301 in 22 years' time—taking us to the time of Orwell's "Big Brother"—there will be 9½ million pensioners compared with 7 million today. Thus, a greater burden will be placed on today's youngsters. We should do everything to fit those youngsters, both our sons and our daughters, to be able to face that challenge.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)
When I was doing my homework in the hope of catching your eye, Mr. Hoy, a certain phrase attracted my attention. It said that the origins of technical colleges and training colleges could be traced to the founding of the Society of Arts in 1754 and to a welfare movement for working men and neglected youths. I hold the opinion that, 207 years after the publication of that statement, we are still neglecting youth and, perhaps more important, we are wasting their tremendous potential.
There has been so much written matter about this problem in the form of reports. I have in mind, for instance, the Carr Committee's Report, the Crowther Report on Education and the articles published by educational bodies. One can truthfully say that the problem has been examined. What we require now is not greater research but some form of action by the Government. That is vitally necessary.
If there is one thing that emerges from our research more clearly than anything else, it is surely that industrialists, aided and abetted by the Government, are failing the nation in this vital problem. That is a hard thing to say, and before I go further let me add at once that I pay homage to those industrialists who have comprehensive training schemes. Nevertheless, I believe that by and large my statement is merited.
Indeed, I noticed that the Minister of Labour himself, speaking to the Industrial Training Council, made reference to those who employ skilled people but who do not, and are apparently not prepared to, reply to the exhortations of the Minister to adopt any form of training scheme. In an article headedTraining opportunities for young persons. Minister of Labour urges industry to extend facilities.he is reported as saying:Superficially of course, it may seem more attractive to the individual firm to let others bear the cost of training and then poach the 302 trained man. Apart from the moral issues involved here, it is a very shortsighted attitude. In the long run it can only contribute to a general shortage of skilled workers from which all parts of industry, poachers as well as others, will suffer.It would seem that the right hon. Gentleman and I think alike on this problem, except that I do not call these people "poachers" but "industrial cuckoos". We must recognise that a poacher can be caught by the gamekeeper and exposed to the full rigours of the law. Not so with these people. We have heard my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson), say that an industrialist told him that it cost upwards of £1,000 to train a skilled man.
How wrong am I if I say that, if I were to walk along Victoria Street and pinch some articles made up as a shirt, or socks or some garment without paying for them, I would be apprehended and prosecuted—quite properly. Yet apparently an "industrial cuckoo" can pinch a skilled man without any penalty, although that man has been trained by another company at a cost of £1,000, and has spent five, or six or seven years of training to gain his accumulated knowledge and skill. That is not a state of affairs that we can proclaim with any satisfaction, but it is allowed to go on.
I am genuinely bewildered as to why the Government allow such a state of affairs to continue. There is ample proof that exhortation of these people will not yield results. There is a splendid example in industry of how we could bring them to heel. At the moment, companies are obliged to employ a certain percentage of disabled people, and we know that this has made a remarkable contribution to the employment of disabled people, many of whom would be "on their uppers" were it not for this legislation.
Why cannot the Government introduce something similar in relation to apprentices? They should not allow this situation to go on, knowing perfectly well that the shortage of skilled people is making such a tremendous difference to our ability to compete and that one cannot get skilled people unless one trains young people first.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
I am very interested in the point which my hon. Friend the Member for 303 Burnley (Mr. D. Jones) is making, and perhaps he would be kind enough to clarify it a little further for me. Assuming that such legislation was enacted and each industrialist, whether small or large, took a proportionate number of apprentices into his company, how would it be possible to ensure that those taken in as apprentices would receive the adequate training required in order to achieve the standard of skill which would enable them to become craftsmen?
§ Mr. Jones
Having been in the engineering industry for a number of years, I do not recognise that as an insuperable problem. It exists, but any form of grouping could overcome it. I say deliberately that if one employs skilled people one has no right to be without apprentices. Otherwise one is pinching trained persons from someone else. Consequently, if we are serious about this—if we are not, we ought to be—we should do something about it and not allow such practices to continue. I do not know whether my hon. Friend regards my reply as satisfactory.
§ Mr. Jones
Perhaps he may be able to make a contribution himself later on.
Unlike the Minister, I do not apologise for offering to the Committee the figures which I have here, because they are particularly interesting and concise. They are the figures of young persons from 15 to 17 years of age who have entered the engineering industry via apprenticeship for five groups of industries—iron foundries, engineering and electrical goods, marine engineering, vehicles, and other metal goods. Consequently, the figures fairly comprehensively cover the engineering industry.
In 1957 the entry of apprentices to that large group was 31,967; in 1958 it was 29,452; in 1959—the last year for which I have figures—it was 26,561. That is a drop of 5,107, notwithstanding all the appeals. The Minister has told us that over the last couple of months he has had his Parliamentary Secretary touring the country appealing to these people. The facts seem to be clear. Apparently, we are led to believe that there was some small benefit in 1960, but I think one should say that the benefit was infinitesimal.
304 My second point relates to day release. From my experience I can say that not only craftsmen but skilled operatives, technicians and certainly technologists want day release if they are to be effective in the workshops. It is not unknown for a skilled operator to be thrown a drawing and the material and to be told to get on with the job, and in order to be able to get on with the job he must understand workshop drawings and mathematics, and the chances are that he did not have the opportunity of doing so before entering industry at fifteen. Consequently, if these lads are to fulfil their function, day release should be compulsory. I have no doubt about that, and certain of my colleagues have expressed similar views. I am positive that if we mean business that principle should be applied.
But what do we find? I have here some very interesting statistics about which I hope the Minister will say something. We find that in the case of engineering, shipbuilding and electrical goods out of 73,000 boys 26 per cent. are denied day release, and of 35,000 girls 89 per cent. are denied day release. In the case of metal manufacture—a rather wider term—of 15,000 young men employed, 50 per cent. are denied day release, and of 5,000 girls employed 81 per cent. are denied day release.
I heard the Minister say that, apparently, jockeys are now subjected to some form of training. I could not be less interested. I think that their contribution to the economic well-being of our country is nil. Hon. Members opposite may smile as much as they like, but whether or not jockeys are trained, I am not interested. I do not think that that was a very able contribution from a Minister dealing with a subject as important as this.
§ Mr. Jones
Let me just finish my figures.
I have also the figures in respect of insurance, banking and industry, which are facets of our economic life which are more important than jockeys. Here we find that of 8,000 boys employed 99 per cent. are denied day release and of 25,000 girls employed 99 per cent. are 305 denied day release. I have been in industry long enough to realise that one of the disabling factors all too frequently is on-costs, non-productive costs.
§ Mr. Jones
I will give way in a moment. There are now two hon. Members seeking to interrupt me. I promise that they will not seek in vain, but I should just like to finish the statistics.
The point surely is that those concerned are not getting down to the job. If the young people in these industries were properly trained and allowed the facilities for training, it is likely that the administrative costs of those industries would be considerably less, with economic benefit to the country.
§ Mr. Gough
I intervened a moment ago because I felt that the debate should not continue without someone saying a word on behalf of the jockeys, and who better than one who happened to have backed the winner of the Derby today? I think it should be said that the jockey does a very fine job of work. He makes a great contribution to the export of thoroughbred stock throughout the world.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. James H. Hoy)
Order. I do not mind an hon. Member intervening to put a question, but we cannot have a speech in the middle of another speech. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to ask a question, I have no objection to his doing so, but he cannot make a speech.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) must forgive me. It may well be that my knowledge of jockeys, horse racing and the export of bloodstock is very low, but I am not certain that even if I were absolutely full of that knowledge it would make any contribution to the debate.
Thirdly, I am aware of the tremendous value of sandwich courses. The object of the system is that men and women should attain a certain level in industry as a result of their studies and initiative and arrive at a point where they can make a tremendously increased contribution to industry if given the opportunity of further 306 academic tuition. I have no doubt at all that it could make a tremendous increase in our economic well-being if we were to apply compulsion in industry, rather than leave it, willy-nilly, to industrialists who are concerned only with profits.
I believe that the combination of young men spending six months in industry and three or four months in the technical colleges could turn out really first-class men for the country in the future. These sandwich courses I know have been operated successfully, but they are operated on far too small a scale. This is an opportunity, I believe, for any Government which is genuinely concerned with this problem to make as point No. 3 some form of compulsion in industry, and not leave it to the employers to deal with it as they like.
Finally, for quite a number of years, I dealt with apprentices on a very wide scale as the responsible official of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. Indeed, my territory took me from Portsmouth and Southampton right down into the south-west to Plymouth, Falmouth and Bristol, and into Glamorgan and further West to Llanelly and Pembroke Dock. I mention this fact fox one reason only. It was not a question of my being associated with one group of lads in one quarter of the country. The point I am making here is that those concerned were taught by myself to be equally as aware of their responsibilities as of their rights. My association with these young men over a period of very many years leads me to say that every time I visited them, I asked the district secretary, the district president or whoever accompanied me, if he could tell me of any young lad who had been in any form of trouble, either with his employers, in his home, with the police or in any way at all. I am very pleased to say that over these years not one of those lads was ever reported to me as having been in any such form of trouble.
This leads me to suggest that if the young people of today are given an aim in life, and that aim is a worthy and worth-while one, we may clear up a good deal of our juvenile and teen-age delinquency. Certainly I am now recommending it to the Government, because I believe that there is a new difference existing in the Government—I say one; 307 there have been others and we shall see more of them in the months to come. The difference is related to whether the "Beat them, Mummy" theory should be endorsed or not. It seems to have a growing momentum in the Tory Party.
The experiences which I have had over a long period of time with responsible young men suggests to me that if these three proposals were activated by the Government, it is distinctly possible not only that we could make a greater contribution to our economic well-being but that we could similarly make a substantial contribution to our social well-being as well. I hope that when the Minister replies to the debate, he will have something very definite to say on those points. At any rate, I shall be here very interestedly listening to his summing up.
§ 6.5 p.m.
Miss J. M. Qnennell (Petersfield)
I am truly grateful for the traditional indulgence and patience of hon. Members of the Committee to people like myself on an occasion like this. Though my experience this afternoon is slightly lessened by the fact that I have a fellow-sufferer, who now, I trust, is feeling slightly better, I am nevertheless somewhat alarmed at my own temerity when I realise that if this debate is developed to its logical extent, it will cover the whole complex pattern of our industry, education and the new technologies which lie ahead of us. I feel slightly like Alice on one of her legendary excursions on which, when she ate the wrong piece of cake, she found her surroundings getting vaster and vaster while she herself became smaller and smaller.
It is impossible to divorce the industrial training of apprentices from the proposals of the White Paper issued in January of this year, which covered technical training and further education provisions in this country. This debate is timely in that not only is this Commonwealth Technical Training Week, which was mentioned and welcomed in the debate several times, but it is also timely in that if we do not at this stage consider the challenge which the increasing young population of the country offers us, the stresses and strains on our technical colleges in the next three or four years will be extremely difficult to overcome.
308 There are two points on which I cannot follow the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. D. Jones). One is his oratorical fervour, which I admire, and the other is his feeling that research is necessary in the technical field of further education. In this country, there is no single centre for research into the further educational side or the technical training for industry side of our educational set-up. Nor is there a single centre for publishing the results and the findings of any research that is undertaken—not a single national centre.
I should very much like to see some investigation carried out in one or two fields which I think require rather narrow investigation at this stage. First, we ought at this stage to consider the adequacy of the existing pattern of our technical education. That pattern was laid down in 1956 in the White Paper, and we now have our local colleges or area colleges, the regional colleges and the C.A.T. colleges superimposed on them. Whether that pattern requires modification or whether it is standing up to the stress of developing technologies no one can tell at this stage.
Another thing about which we have to think urgently today is the number of technical teachers provided in this country. Are they adequate now and are they going to go on being adequate, or are we to find, as we now find so often when we advertise posts in technical colleges, that we get half a dozen or more replies, fix the date for interview, when none of the candidates turns up because all have obtained posts elsewhere, and probably better posts than those being offered?
Another point which needs investigation as a matter of some urgency is the relationship between our C.A.T. colleges and the universities. Already collisions are occurring in the award of the new Dip. Tech. and pass degrees from the universities. It seems to me that some thinking ought to be directed to meeting the need for sandwich Dip. Tech. courses in subjects such as special mathematics which can be adequately fulfilled by the existing universities, with pass degrees taken as external degrees.
There is a great need to assess industry's future requirement of technicians because it is only on the assessment of 309 future requirements that provision can be made for future places. In the past two years the candidates for the Higher National Certificate in the building and civil engineering industries have risen by about 60 per cent. over our calculated requirements and the Dip. Tech. places are now held to be over-provided. That over-provision on the Dip. Tech. side is because if a principal of a C.A.T. college wants to run a Dip. Tech. course, he has to have a certain minimum number before the course can be run, whereas if he decides to advise the few youngsters who want to take that subject that they can take a university external pass degree in it, they can do so at the same college. That is a matter which only rather narrow research can discover, but that is getting rather far from the subject which we have been discussing this afternoon, namely, apprenticeships for craftsmen who are probably taking their City and Guilds to inter-level.
The crazy ideas which I shall probably utter in the next few minutes are entirely my own. No one else is responsible for them. Indeed, only a few days ago I was at a technical college where I was presented with a blast furnace and where they kindly passed me a clanger on which was inscribed my name so that I should never be without something to drop.
In considering apprentice training, one has to be rather more critical and radical than many people have been to date. Our apprentice training is a fine and well-established institution of some venerable years, but five years' part-time release, which may be day or evening or both, is a long, long time to a youngster. We are encouraging youngsters to stay at school longer, and, without encouragement from anyone, youngsters are getting married earlier, so there are very sound social reasons why five years at that age becomes a very long time.
We have also to think of the country as a whole and to remember that not every youngster has a technical college a quarter of a mile down the road. Some have to get on their motorbikes and go 25 miles every time they go to the technical college and then back again. That is not too bad in the summer, but it is a long trail in the winter. We have to remember that that and other factors 310 play their part in inhibiting the development of apprenticeships throughout the country.
Our output of apprentices is falling and is inadequate. The greater part of the training of apprentices is undertaken only by the larger firms. We have to face that, and it is certain that there are sound practical reasons why it should be so, despite the fact that the bulk of the working population is employed by smaller firms, firms which are frankly not capable of providing the facilities which the apprentices require and which a training school requires—apprentice supervisors and all the other facilities. We must also remember that an apprentice supervisor may himself be an absolutely first-class craftsman but may not have that curious ability for imparting knowledge.
We have also to appreciate that the group apprenticeship scheme has proved impracticable for various reasons—diversity of management and the different methods of operation of different firms as well as sheer geography. If my right hon. Friend will forgive me for saying so, the Ministry of Labour scheme for apprenticeship has been something of a statutory curate's egg.
The "bulge", as it has been so inelegantly called, will be with us for the next three years. Unlike other speakers, I do not believe that the "bulge" is a phenomenon which will disappear in the course of time, because this "bulge" will create another in ten years, but if we can plan well now we shall be planning soundly for the future.
I diffidently suggest—and this is my pet lunacy—that the five-year apprenticeship as we have known it is too long nowadays. Responsibility is divided three ways. It is divided among the local education authority, which has to provide the technical college or the craft centre to which the youngsters are released, the employers and the unions.
Instead of five years' part-time release, the youngsters should serve certainly one year and possibly two years full-time at a technical college. At the end of what would be a general course, some sort of qualification should be available to prove that they had passed through that stage in their apprenticeship so that they could move about the country fitting into 311 other parts of their industry, whatever it might be. Candidates for these courses should be nominated by employers so that all organs of career advice are properly used beforehand, so that the problem of wastage is avoided.
Those are probably somewhat revolutionary ideas in this day and age, but if we are to modernise production techniques and the methods used in factories for producing manufactured objects, it seems strange that we should not also modernise the methods used for training the men who are to use the new machines. If we are to enjoy the fruits of the new era which is ahead of us we must do just this or we shall lose those benefits.
I should like finally to pay a brief tribute to my predecessor who sat in my place as the Hon. Peter Legh. If it falls to me to serve the House of Commons one tithe as well as he did, I, at any rate, shall be very well satisfied.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
I am sure that I am speaking for all Members of the Committee when I most warmly congratulate the hon. Lady the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quemnell) on an excellent maiden speech. I am delighted to find that there is one new recruit at least on the benches opposite who comes here to speak with full knowledge of the subject on which she has addressed the Committee. I know that the hon. Lady has had considerable experience in the administration of technical and technological education and that gives added weight to the contribution that she has made to the debate. We look forward with anticipation and keen interest to further and perhaps even more controversial contributions which she may make during her career in Parliament. I also have a very warm welcome for my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson) who, in his own sphere, also has very great experience which will be of value to us in these debates.
Having made those very well deserved complimentary remarks on the two maiden speeches, I am afraid that I cannot say any such kind words to the Minister. I am sorry. He and the Parliamentary Secretary are very nice chaps and I am sure that they have the nicest natures in the House of Commons. But 312 I am sorry to say they are quite inadequate for the job they have to do.
After all, we are facing a very serious situation in the education and training of our young people and in the need for increasing the skilled resources of our industry for our industrial future. Could anyone have supposed that we were in that position after having heard the right hon. Gentleman's speech? Had he come to his office last week or the week before one could have understood the sort of bromide speech which he delivered. I do not wish to be unduly unkind, but a man who has been in his office for the length of time he has been ought to have made a much better speech with a much greater content than that which he made this afternoon. We have heard all this exhortation and all these bromides before and there was nothing in the speech on which we could bite, except that he said that he had sent his officials to France to look at the apprenticeship levy system which is operated there.
That was the only new thing which came out of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He has now had ample time in which to face the challenge of training in industry. It is not his exclusive responsibility, for it is shared with the Ministry of Education. As with certain other matters, there is a division of responsibility which is not entirely avoidable, but the debate is being conducted on a Ministry of Labour basis and the right hon. Gentleman ought at least to have known what his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education has been doing about day release. It is an insult to the Committee that the right hon. Gentleman should not have consulted his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education about something which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. D. Jones) emphasised, is one of the most crucial matters in the present controversy about industrial training.
I want this afternoon to refer to a Report which I hope all hon. Members will read, even though they may not be directly concerned with Welsh constituencies. It is the extremely significant Report on Technical Education in Wales produced by the Central Advisory Council for Education in Wales. It is significant because it makes some definite and important recommendations about technical education and technical training.
313 We have had a preliminary discussion on this Report in the Welsh Grand Committee and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour replied to that debate for the Government. He is a very nice fellow and I am sorry if I cause him pain, but I must bring to the attention of the Committee the comments contained in the current issue of Technology on that speech. The people who write in this magazine presumably know what they are talking about. They said:His speech was as complacent as it was inept. Platitudes jostled with non sequiturs. Such statistics as he had were irrelevant.That is pretty damning and I hope that his speech tonight will be of a better standard than that. He used certain arguments for leaving technical training within its present framework. Some of those arguments were used this afternoon by the Minister, one argument being that a big reform could not be introduced "in the short term".
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Peter Thomas)
That is what is said in the Report.
§ Mrs. White
The comment made about that is that this also was stated when the Carr Report was produced three years ago. In other words, if the argument is used that it cannot be done in the short term, it becomes an argument for never doing it at all.
It is also pointed out in Technology that the mere fact that employment figures as such are reasonably satisfactory is no reason for arguing that those going into jobs of some kind are necessarily going into suitable jobs or jobs with the kind of skilled training necessary for our industrial future. The Minister devoted a good deal of his speech to giving figures of employment, but I repeat that that is not necessarily a relevant argument on the question of training for skill in industry. In fact I do not think that we need be at all complacent about this. If one follows an article by the City Editor of the Guardian only yesterday or the day before we may shortly reach the point of what used to be called over-full employment and this kind of alibi may not serve us very much longer.
The really depressing thing about the Government is that they seem to have no concrete ideas of how to deal with what hon. Members on both sides of 314 the Committee regard as exceedingly important, the number of people who enter training and the content of the training which they receive. They are two separate problems for neither of which have the Government any solution at all, or so it appears to me.
I return to the proposals made by the Committee on Technical Education in Wales. It rejects the principle of the Carr Report, which is that responsibility for this training should rest primarily with industry. The Committee says quite categorically that the main responsibility for training should be transferred to public authority. It goes further and suggests a national apprenticeship council, an apprenticeship levy, and a national apprenticeship scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Education. It makes some other detailed suggestions about how this might be carried out locally. Referring to this, the Minister suggests again that we cannot do anything because, as I understood him to say, it might diminish opportunities if we made a change now—the argument that one cannot swap horses in midstream. But surely this is the challenging factor in the situation. We all agree that something should be done. We all want something done in such a way that we shall not diminish but rather increase the opportunities.
I do not go fully with all the recommendations of the Welsh Committee. In fact I do not think that the pattern for this country is necessarily the one in France for example, where there is a three-year full-time training in industrial apprentice centres. I should say that we have built up a different tradition in this country. We have some excellent training facilities, particularly among large employers. Surely we can take that as one of the existing facts. What we should aim at, and what we should have had from the Minister today, is a scheme which takes into account the good existing facilities and, with our traditional British compromise, work for a scheme which will include them and also bring in workers in all the other firms which do not have training facilities and are never likely to have them.
Surely the kind of pattern to which we should be working is a national apprenticeship scheme with recognition for approved schemes carried out in industry. 315 Unless we have some scheme of this kind we shall find no solution to the problem either of the quantity of the training supplied or its quality. The Welsh Committee rightly points out that at the moment we are at the mercy of the decisions of individual industrialists about how many apprentices they will take. I know that agreement has to be arrived at with unions, but the maximum which may be taken is contained by what the industrialists are prepared to spend training apprentices. This decision on the part of the industrialists may be taken for all kinds of extraneous reasons which have nothing to do with the national need for skilled workers but may be concerned with the financial prospects of the firm in question. It is pointed out here that when we have a credit squeeze and there is a chilly atmosphere in industry, industrialists may cut down on the intake of apprentices although the output of apprentices at the end of the training period may occur at a time when there may be an extreme need for skilled workers. In other words, there may be a cut-down in 1957, without any thought for what may be wanted in 1963. We ought not to be at the mercy of such extraneous considerations.
There are the fluctuations in recruitment and the varying standards of practical training to which reference has been made by a number of hon. Members. Surely, if we are to eliminate these fluctuations both in numbers and standards in so far as they are irrelevant to our industrial needs, we must have a national scheme and it must include supplementary provision over and above that which is provided by the large employers. The method of financing it may well be an apprenticeship levy. Most hon. Members on this side of the Committee are persuaded that something of that kind is desirable. It has been pointed out that the present cost of training apprentices is in effect a discriminating tax on the firms which undertake the training, and it is inequitable that they should have to bear that expense if the persons trained go out to work for other firms. So there is a great deal to be said for the apprenticeship levy.
There should be some standards and some inspection. I cannot see how one can eliminate discrepancies in the 316 quality of training unless there is some agreement about inspection. Naturally it could be done by various methods. I am not thinking necessarily of another body of H.M. Inspectors. I do not wish the Committee to think that I am being disrespectful to H.M. Inspectors; they are most admirable people. I am thinking only that in this sphere it may be more suitable to operate through joint councils for particular industries or by some such method achieve proper inspection and so make sure that the apprentice is being given an adequate training and is not being fobbed off with piece-work or being allowed to "stand by" in the way which has been described during this debate. Surely this is something which ought to have been fully considered by the Government.
We cannot let this matter drift. The Minister has been eloquent about the problem and said that "training could be too narrow" and so forth. But what does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do about it? He has had plenty of time to think about this. Recently he has had a very bad Press. This is something which is always of concern to the Government Front Bench, many of whom have had a bad Press recently.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
Others have had a very good one, including the fellow on television.
§ Mrs. White
I do not always see television and I am not sure to what my hon. Friend is referring.
The Minister of Labour has had a poor Press indeed over this matter of technical training. One need only read some of the speeches which have been made. I have here a report of a recent speech by the president of the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutes who clearly has no confidence whatever in the policy and practice of Her Majesty's Government. It seems to me that we are entitled in this Commonwealth Training Week to expect something very much better from the Government Front Bench than we have had. The Government have made no advance in principle over the last few years. The Ministry of Education has done a certain amount in improving its side of the matter by the provision for technical education, but I do not think that has been matched by the sort of arrangements which ought to have gone on in the 317 industrial world. I repeat that we ought to have heard a much better account from the Minister and I hope that we shall hear something more satisfactory from the Parliamentary Secretary.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Gresham Cooke (Twickenham)
The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) has given the Government Front Bench a bad time this afternoon and I wish to be one to say something about the other side of the question and, as it were, to come to the rescue of the Government.
The suggestion has been made that the Government have done nothing in this matter of apprenticeship and technical education in the last few years. I remember only too well that about a year after I became a Member of this House of Commons—I think it was in 1956—a White Paper on technical education was introduced. It was then said that there was a programme which would allow for £70 million to be spent on new buildings and on new technical schools, and so on.
§ Mrs. White
Towards the end of my speech I did say something about the contribution of the Ministry of Education, and I should not like to be misunderstood about that.
§ Mr. Gresham Cooke
The hon. Lady was a little kind to the Government Front Bench at one time.
I have been looking to see how this money has been spent in the last few years and, in particular, how it has been spent in my own constituency. There we have a technical college and a secondary technical school all in one building in which is taught engineering, electronics, printing, building and a number of other trades. In the last year or two there has been spent no less than £337,000 on extensions, £500,000 on alterations and new buildings and £200,000 on new equipment, making a total of £1,037,000 in the last two years. I think that is something upon which the Government may be congratulated. Looking at the figures of attendances at this technical school, I see that at present there are 1,706 day-release students and 79 taking sandwich courses and 2,227 evening students. That is not a bad record. I would say that in southwest Middlesex the Government have 318 done everything which was promised, and that is something of which we should be proud.
The question arises, are companies making the best use of these splendid facilities at their disposal and at the disposal of apprentices? Obviously, the large firms have excellent apprenticeship facilities and many medium firms also have good facilities. The difficulties arise over the small firms. I happen to be a director of a large firm and also of a small company employing 25 to 50 people. In contemplating that number one wonders whether one can afford to release any of these lads for day training. That is the practical difficulty which people in small firms are up against. Something like 80 per cent. of the employed population work in small firms. To get over this practical difficulty I think we ought to have some levy scheme by which smaller firms could be assisted, that is, towards firms who release boys for day release training, contributions should be made by all the firms whether or not they release people for these day release schemes. I should be in favour of some form of day-release scheme.
§ Mr. Gresham Cooke
Not necessarily. We might have some employment limits, perhaps up to 100 people, or some figure such as that. I am not an expert on this matter, but I think that there is a case which could be made out for imposing a levy in order to help some of the smaller firms.
The hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) made a considerable point about the number of boys condemned to blind alley jobs, but I do not think that he was quite fair. He overpainted the picture in one direction. After all, there are still a large number of firms which cannot get all the apprentices they want, and there are a number of firms which take on apprentices who fade out during their apprenticeships. I wish that the hon. Gentleman had stated that side of the picture as well as the side he emphasised.
That brings us to the problem of the differential, which is a severe one. The skilled man must get more than the semiskilled, but in many industries today we are getting to the position where perhaps 319 a skilled man gets only a few pence or a shilling a day more than the semi-skilled man. The trade unions must take a hand in this. Their first object is to look after the underdog. It always is, but in doing that they must not penalise the skilled man and the apprentice who will one day be a skilled man. We must see that the skilled man earns more than the unskilled man, and it must be made worth while for the boy with indentures to get on with them so that he has a programme of advancement before him. We must keep the differential between the two.
§ Mr. Lee
I agree with some of the things said by the hon. Gentleman, but this is a vicious circle. In the last few years apprentices have increased their rates of pay pro rata to the skilled man more than the skilled man has increased his. The argument used by the small firms is that we are making apprenticeships too dear, and therefore they do not train them.
§ Mr. Gresham Cooke
That is so, but what is the practical situation? The boy of 18 or 19 goes into a semi-skilled job and earns enough money to buy a motor cycle and enjoy himself far more than the apprentice is able to do. We have to look at this again and see whether we cannot all the way along the line bring the apprentice and the skilled man well above the semi-skilled man.
Looking at the industrial situation as a whole, I wonder whether we are sufficiently interested in mechanics and science to attract apprentices, particularly in the southern part of the country. After all, the great Victorian inventions of coalmining, cotton mills, the great industrial achievements of the railways, steamships, iron and steel, and so on, were mostly North Country achievements. The South of England was left out. Geographically it is the North Country which has been keener on apprenticeships than the South. Certainly up to the early part of this century the South did not have very much interest in industry, and we in the South of England were slow to interest ourselves in mechanics and science.
Perhaps I might give one or two examples. It is always surprising to me that no motor car was produced in this 320 country until ten years after this had been done in Germany and France. In Germany the Benz and Daimler companies, and in France the Panhard and Renault companies, were miles ahead of any British companies in the 'eighties. We did not produce a motor car until after 1895. In fact, the Bordeaux-Paris race had already been won at 16 miles per hour by a French car before a British car was made. Again, Rolls Royce did not get into its stride until 1910. That is an example of where we were backward.
I was at a southern public school. After I left school and had spent a few years in the South of England I migrated into industry in Sheffield. My friends in London at that time asked: "What on earth are you doing locking yourself away in a smoky place like Sheffield?" In those days science was regarded as "stinks". There was a general attitude against science and mechanics.
At present, the Russians are obviously much further advanced in rocketry than we are. I was looking at their booklet about Major Gagarin. They claimed that much of their rocket success had been based on the pioneer work of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who was born in 1857 and died in 1935. Apparently he produced a model of a rocket space ship in 1903 which had many points of similarity with the space ship used by Major Gagarin. Mechanically the Russians are miles ahead of us in rocketry, although it must not be thought that we did nothing on the subject before the war.
Not long ago I was looking through some books left by my younger brother who was a fighter-pilot in the Royal Air Force. Among them was a pre-war book "Stratosphere and Rocket Flight", by C. J. Philp, published by the firm headed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman). Writing in 1936, Mr. Philp said that the flight of a manned space rocket from Europe to New York, a distance of 3,960 miles, going to a height of 628 miles, might be an accomplished fact by 1966. That was not a bad prophecy, but nobody took any notice of it in this country. I do not suppose that more than a few copies of the book were read.
A firm of which I am a director was showing ultrasonic machine tools and equipment at the British Show in Moscow 321 the other day. The salesmen say that they were amazed at the interest shown by teen-agers in complicated machinery, transducers, generators, and the rest. That is what we are up against. It is not the competition between one skilled man and another in this country; it is the competition between the skilled man in this country and the skilled man in Russia, Czechoslovakia, and the rest of Europe. The English are a delightful people, but I think that Derby Day shows that we are rather more interested in horses than in machines, even in 1961.
I said earlier that many companies are not able to find enough apprentices because lads are more interested in going into retail shops in the distributive trades, and so on, than in going into industry. This is a disadvantage in a mechanical world and prevents us taking the lead in many of the mechanical sciences, but things are changing and the percentage of scientific graduates at universities is growing. Having said that, and having stressed the need for science and technology, I should like to make one plea, which is that we ought to have apprenticeships for management training.
Management is a blend of the arts of human relations with technology and science. We have plenty of accountants, lawyers and engineers going into industry, but we have no managers who are trained as such. Where are the men trained in administration? No university in the country gives a degree in industrial management. We have the Administrative Staff College at Henley doing a splendid job giving three-month courses for men already in industry, but we have no Harvard College of Business Administration, as there is in America, and I ask my right hon. Friend to mention to the Prime Minister when he sees him in his other capacity as Chancellor of Oxford that he should start a college of business administration at Oxford. We might then have some brilliant administrators as they have in the U.S.A., and probably in Russia.
To sum up, we need four things to bring this country industrially right into the twentieth century. First, in the public sense and in our attitude towards education generally we ought to encourage the disciplines of science, engineering and mechanics as every bit as good, if not better, than the traditional ones. 322 Secondly, we ought to help smaller firms to afford the day release of apprentices by some form of levy scheme. Thirdly, we should increase the differential between the skilled and the unskilled all through life, and I urge the hon. Member for Newton to make that point when he is next talking to his trade union friends. Fourthly, I hope that one of the existing 22 universities in the United Kingdom will start a degree in industrial management or a college of business administration. Only in these ways will Britain get truly into the twentieth century.
§ 6.51 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
The hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) made several constructive points at the end of his speech. I hope he will forgive me if I first return to the remarks made by the two maiden speakers, because I, too, would like to pay my tribute to them. We have heard two outstanding and remarkable speeches from them, which indicates that the House has earned a great deal by their presence among us.
I listened with great interest to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson), and then I rejoiced to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell). The Government are indeed fortunate in their acquisition of a person of such obvious knowledge in this specialised field. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), I take this opportunity of paying my tribute to these hon. Members.
Several speakers in today's debate, including the Minister to a limited extent, have made constructive speeches. I am glad that we are having this debate during Commonwealth Technical Training Week, and I also join with my hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) and with the Minister in acknowledging the lead that the Duke of Edinburgh has given to the country on this very important matter. We are very deeply in his debt on this question, and I gladly pay tribute to him.
§ Mr. Thomas
Even so, I am entitled to my view. In Wales there has been a tremendous response to the Commonwealth Technical Training Week. We 323 have experienced a second industrial revolution in the post war years. Not only has our steel industry been modernised and extended, but the valleys have ceased to be a single industrial area. Whereas the valleys of South Wales used to be completely dependent on the coal mining industry, today light engineering—plastics and other varied industries—offer different opportunities to our young people. Therefore, the question of apprenticeships is one of major concern in the majority of the homes in Wales.
The fact that the Minister confessed at the Treasury Box that we are less favourably placed with regard to apprenticeships in Wales than are the young people of England is of concern to us. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, in a recent speech, indicated, I believe, that apprenticeships in England were one to three. The Minister, on a different basis, said today that the figure was one to five.
§ Mr. Thomas
I saw the discrepancy but I did not wish to be unjust. However, in Wales the vacancies for apprenticeships are, I believe, one to four-and-a-half and, unless drastic action is taken, it looks as though the proportion will be one to six in 1962. That is on the basis of the figures of school leavers and the vacancies as they are known at the present time.
I also wish to make a constructive speech. In doing so, I must point out that in an article in the current issue of "Technical Education and Industrial Training", John Wellens indicates the five main characteristics of craft apprenticeships that exist today. He states that, firstly, they are of five years duration; secondly, there is no failure hazard. Once accepted as an apprentice, one is there for five years to serve one's time and, without blotting one's copy book, one is regarded as a skilled worker; thirdly, there is a rigid age limit; fourthly, academic training is not considered at all an essential; and, fifthly, the training is for a single craft and, hence, it prevents mobility among skilled labour in industry.
324 I believe that we can add another item to that list—formal training of apprentices when they are accepted in industry is not a requirement. Most apprentices get no training at all. They are simply taken on by the employer and watch the craftsmen. They learn not only that craftsman's skill but also his mistakes. Naturally, the craftsman is mainly concerned with output and not with training apprentices. Again, if the craftsman is working for a bonus on his output, he will have little time to spare for the apprentice.
The hon. Member for Petersfield made a useful point when she indicated that craftsmen are not necessarily teachers. I believe, therefore, that we should give serious consideration to the fact that most countries now anchor their apprenticeship schemes to their educational systems. They make it a period of training. They decide the balance between theory and practice, and, therefore, they decide the length of the apprenticeship itself.
That we have no national system of supervision or control of the treatment and training of apprentices is a major weakness in the present system. A young lad trained on the Clydeside in engineering has one standard, while a young lad trained in Cardiff in engineering has another standard. That leads to all sorts of difficulties in industry. This state of affairs can only be rectified by the Government accepting more responsibility for the training of apprentices.
We need a national supervisory authority whose task will be twofold—firstly, to protect the apprentice by insuring adequate industrial training, and, secondly, to ensure adequate educational training. This is impossible unless we accept the proposal of inspection in industry. Why should it be more difficult, or less attractive, to inspect the treatment of young persons in industry when we already inspect the treatment of young persons in school? We accept it in schools. For the young person in a grammar school who is of the same age as an apprentice, there is protection by inspection of the standard of instruction given. Why should this not also apply in industry? I believe that, in due course, this will come to pass, but if the Government were aware of their responsibilities they would be 325 giving major consideration to this question now.
Specialisation is looked upon by many people as a characteristic of modern industry. Mr. R. C. Matthias of the Transport and General Workers' Union, writing on behalf of the trade union movement in the recent superb supplement in the Western Mail dealing with Commonwealth Technical Education, stated:…specialised knowledge should rest on a sound general education.There has been agreement on both sides of the Committee that the greatest problem lies with the small employer. It is a particular problem in Wales. The great majority of our employers have less than 100 workers on their pay roll.
I believe that there are two answers to the problem. The first is the group apprenticeship scheme. There is one at Treforest, which is working very well. A number of small employers together agree to support this scheme with the aid of the technical college. The second is the Ministry of Labour apprenticeship training scheme. We have a first year apprenticeship scheme at Curran Road, Cardiff, catering in instruction in engineering for 12 boys from nine different firms. I understand that the next course, beginning in September this year, will cater for 24 boys. Of course, this scheme is good in itself, but it is inadequate. We shall need a great deal more of this sort of work by the Ministry of Labour in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
I believe in compulsion when it concerns the training of our young people. I do not put the small employer before the apprentice. We must get our priorities right. If people want to employ labour, they must do it under the right conditions. If they cannot afford to do it, they should not be in business. I think that the time has come when we ought to have compulsion on every small employer of labour to join in group apprenticeship schemes if his work is of such a nature that apprentices are desirable.
I agree with what my hon. Friends have said about the question of the levy and the rebate to help the smaller employer. No youngster should be denied full and adequate training simply because his employer happens to have 326 a small business. We must apply the principle of equal opportunity as much to the apprentice as to the university student. A lad employed in a small concern in Cardiff must have rights equal to those of the lad employed by the Steel Company of Wales or by the National Coal Board, which has a superb apprenticeship scheme.
That leads me to day release. Here I find myself a little out of step with some of my hon. Friends and certainly with hon. Members opposite. The time has passed when we should be talking about day release. We should get away from this outmoded idea of a person being released to spend a day or two days a week at a technical college and the rest of the week at work. Efficient teaching on one day a week is impossible. One cannot even establish a good relationship between the teacher and the taught. They hardly get to know each other. Education cannot be undertaken in jerks or in spasmodic exercises. The period of release should never be less than three months. Let us have release so that a young person can spend a worthwhile time in a technical college. This means revising our ideas of financing the young people. It means looking again at our grant system. If we are to hold our own among the great industrial powers in the world, we must do this sort of thing. We ought to copy the National Coal Board.
§ Mr. Marsh
With regard to day release, what my hon. Friend suggests is already done concerning one section of student apprentices. Would not my hon. Friend agree that there are two types of apprentice who need two types of training? While a sandwich course is ideal for a lad who is studying something for which it is not necessary to finish with a degree or higher national certificate, surely the lad who will do primarily a manual job is better suited if he can keep a close relationship with the bench?
§ Mr. Thomas
Day release is better kept for unskilled workers, because unskilled workers in the modern society are not people without skill. I know that that sounds Irish, but it is true. They are classified as unskilled when they are in charge of machines which I should not like to control and which terrify me. They are regarded as unskilled because 327 they have not served a period of apprenticeship. Unskilled labour needs training as much as our skilled labour. The National Coal Board takes the first full year of an apprenticeship and then there is a gradual transfer to industry. Why should an apprentice who is lucky enough to come under the Coal Board have this advantage but not an apprentice who works in private industry?
One of our great weaknesses in Wales has been that we have made a fetish of the university. It is also our strength. It is a natural weakness, for our university was established by the pennies of workers who were resolved on higher education. However, with the tremendous attraction of a degree that there is among our young people our colleges of advanced technology should now grant degrees such as a bachelor of technology.
I have been in touch with one of South Wales' leading industrialists, a dynamic personality, Mr. A. J. Nicholas of South Wales Switchgear Limited, who will be known to hon. Members opposite. He informs me that:The Dip. Tech. of the Welsh College of Advanced Technology is really equivalent to an honours degree man in a university, and because of his greater knowledge of industry (six months' work, six months' college) he will have greater practical value in industry. The trouble is that it will need very many years for this idea to be absorbed by educationalists, parent and student, so I feel that something different from Dip. Tech. should be established, such as a bachelor of technology or equivalent. There is a colossal amount of glamour associated with a degree.I have a very great respect for the judgment of Mr. Nicholas, who, in 1942, started this concern in South Wales with only a handful of apprentices. Today there are 420 apprentices in that business. This year they will be taking on another 100, mainly of the student and university type. The firm realises that it will not be able to absorb them all and therefore it is feeding the smaller firms in South Wales. When a man like that gives us advice, we are well advised to take it.
Another vital need is this. We should have a national planning commission to forecast the likely apprenticeship needs of industry. It is no use saying, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour said upstairs in another debate, that industrial representatives on 328 the boards of technical colleges is a help. Of course it is. It is always good to have industrialists on the governing boards of technical colleges. But their knowledge is limited to their own area. We want an overall estimate of what apprenticeships industry is likely to require.
The present apprenticeship entry on the basis of the current prosperity of the industry is a foolish one, because, as the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) said, it limits the number that we are likely to train. I understand, for example, that on the North-East Coast, there are to be no apprenticeships in the shipbuilding industry for three years because of the present state of doldrums in the industry. What a wicked thing that is for the young people in that part of the world. We need a plan which will be less haphazard and which is based on the Government's economic plans for future development.
I fully support those who desire facilities for the re-training of craftsmen in new skills. I hope that the Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Newton and everyone responsible will be able to talk both to trade unionists and to employers on the rigidity of the present craft rules concerning apprenticeships. Touchy as people are when one mentions the subject, it is undoubtedly true that the present apprenticeship scheme is much too rigid to meet the demands of a society like this.
With the challenge of a new age upon us, we need a new approach. In the Welsh Grand Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education told us thatNew machines, new processes, and new products all offer challenges both to the individual and to the community…success in these conditions may very much depend upon the arrangements we make to train and guide our young people".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 10th May. 1961; c. 124.]I entirely agree with the words of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education and I welcome the opportunity to quote them. I am also mindful, however, that it does not seem as if the rest of the Government know what the hon. Gentleman was saying. It does not look as if the Ministry of Labour has heard that the Ministry of Education is alarmed at the necessity which exists 329 for new methods and techniques and a new approach.
If I may again quote Mr. Nicholas, who is the chairman of the Welsh Commonwealth Training Week effort, writing in the Western Mail Supplement he said:Given the mechanised equipment, a large amount of our manufactured articles can be made equally well in Central Africa or China or elsewhere. New factories are being established there all the time and our only hope to keep ahead is in ideas, in mechanisation, in efficiency and in training.The fact that Russia is producing 15 engineers for every one that we produce and that by 1968 she expects to produce 28 engineers for every one that we produce is a reminder that what we are discussing today affects the very survival of our people. We are dealing with basic issues. I do not believe that there is anyone, on either side of the Committee, who cares for the future well-being of our people who will fail to realise that on the quality of our craftsmanship and the scope of their training depends the standard of living of our people and our place amongst the great industrial nations. It is because I believe that the Government and, in particular, the Ministry of Labour are not showing an awareness of this that I am glad to know that my right hon. and hon. Friends intend to vote on this question tonight.
§ 7.14 p.m.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
My feeling on the whole problem of technical training is that there is no room for complacency, either in industry or in the House of Commons. I could not agree with the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee), in the picture he painted, that conditions are quite as black as they apear to be to the other side of the Committee. It is not my intention to take up the time of the Committee for too long, but I should like to give a picture from the viewpoint as I see it.
That viewpoint is tainted by four features. First, at one time I happened to be a trainee in industry. I have experienced the difficulty of standing alongside a skilled craftsman in the foundry industry. That skilled craftsman, however, was able to let me share in his work only because of an arrangement between the union concerned and the management Another aspect with which that craftsman was concerned, whether I had been a 330 management trainee or an ordinary trainee, was that the trainee should not wreck his handiwork. In the foundry industry, there is little harm that a trainee can do, but on a heavy machine an unskilled trainee can damage the work that a skilled craftsman is carrying out. These are problems which must be appreciated by both sides of industry.
A second factor which taints my viewpoint is that I went to one of our technical colleges—namely, the National Foundry College—which gives a technological qualification known as the Diploma in Fibro-Technology. That college, which is in Wolverhampton, has chosen Commonwealth Week for its national diploma prize-giving. This is a suitable week for the occasion, and I hope to be present.
Thirdly, I am also connected with an industry and a company which, in the interest of the various companies within the industry, have been conscious of the value of an efficient apprentice training scheme. The first important factor is that of morale within the company. An efficient apprentice training scheme makes it possible to train up the higher grades of staff from within the organisation without going outside. That is a human factor in industry which is of vital importance and of which many industries are aware. Companies in my industry are only too well aware of the value of part-time day release, which they have been practising for many years, and of the value of paying for any extra-mural studies which are so necessary for education that goes beyond the factory floor.
I should also like to paint the picture as I see it from the viewpoint of a city which is interested in these problems from both the industrial and educational sides. This week is Commonwealth Training Week. It is a great venture. Its great value is that it provides a forum for parents and children to see the career opportunities that are available to them and how important this is from the viewpoint not only of the school, but of bridging the gap between school and work. This week in Sheffield, for example, there is a careers convention. It is not the first that we have had in the city. The first one was started by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, which is representative of the industrial side 331 and which realised the value of such a convention.
During Commonwealth Training Week, there will be opportunities for many visits. People can see factories in operation and they can see the more modern schools. One particular feature in my city and also in my own industry is that, as part of their training, the apprentices have made as a gift some apparatus which can be used in hospital for lifting patients from a stretcher on to a bed. Through my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, the gift is going from this country both to Nigeria and to India. This is a bond of contact which we should hope to have between apprentice training in this country and the needs of other countries.
Reference has been made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour to the work of the I.T.C. We cannot overemphasise the impact of the Carr Report and the effect which it is having, particularly, upon industry. My right hon. Friend mentioned that he had toured the country and had had meetings in many places. There are now various regional committees established. We cannot underestimate the value of these regional committees, but they will have to ensure—I quote from The Times here—that their activities do not conflict with what has already been done to encourage the recruitment and training of young people during the 'bulge' years.For a minute or two, I shall dwell on what is being done in two industries with which I am connected, the steel industry and the engineering industry.
It is well known that the Iron and Steel Federation has a training department in London and has had it for a long time. In my city, it has a branch with one training officer and four assistants. Apart from the iron and steel industry, the Sheffield and District Engineering Trades Employers' Association has appointed a training officer for industry. Industrial associations are endeavouring to survey the problems facing various localities. Other training officers have been appointed and they have reported on their experience. They have touched on the difficulties facing the smaller industries which stem largely from lack of knowledge about 332 the problems facing them. A training officer can explain what is going on. By using the Press and other media for publicity, he can bring to the notice of smaller firms ways of introducing the training programmes which are so essential for their survival. The industrial associations in my city and elsewhere are aware of the need emphasised in the Carr Report and by the Minister and his predecessors.
One particular problem is referred to in the Carr Report:There are some firms which do not at present train apprentices because they find it cheaper to take on, as adults, those whom others have trained—an attitude which we consider irresponsible.There have been references by hon. Members opposite to the payroll tax and a proposed rebate for those operating approved apprenticeship schemes. This possibility has been considered by various organisations. Who is to decide what is a reasonable cost for an apprenticeship scheme run by a company? If the rebate is too great, a company might be encouraged to be unduly lavish in order to attract the all-too-scarce apprentice labour. In certain industries apprentices were very scarce three or four years ago. Now, those who are running approved schemes are able to select and obtain the best through their schemes.
I emphasise that there are companies which think it worth while to run schemes of this type, in spite of the cost, whether or not there is a rebate. Many do it already because they are aware of the conditions for their own survival. But concern is felt in many medium-sized companies about the possibility of poaching, particularly in times of full employment. It is said by some that others are taking the people whom they have trained.
Again, I want to tell the Committee about activities in my locality. Training officers in Sheffield are making inquiries about how many firms have no training scheme of any type. The information coming to me is that many small firms in my city—and the story is the same in other regions—have schemes of one sort or another.
The hon. Member for Newton reminded us that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh had said that out of 550 people entering employment 420 333 entered unskilled jobs. In my region, 43 per cent. of those entering jobs entered through some form of approved or formal works training scheme. The cutlery industry is similarly aware of the need and is preparing a group scheme, taking advantage of the offer made last year by my right hon. Friend's predecessor.
To digress for a moment, I will tell the Committee about some of the work done in the steel industry as a whole. This industry, which is a prosperous industry, increased its intake of young people last year by 20 per cent. Between October, 1959, and October last year the intake of young people went up from 12,900 to 15,500. Again, to take the increase in numbers at work in October, 1960, compared with 1959, in various grades of skill, the increase in my region in respect of craft apprentices was 12 per cent and in the industry as a whole it was 8.6 per cent. In respect of junior operators, it was 31 per cent. in my region and 24 per cent. in the industry as a whole. For student or technical apprentices, the increase was 49 per cent. in my region and 26 per cent. in the industry as a whole. Thus we see in this prosperous industry an example of the way that full advantage is taken of the bulge.
Again, the figures in respect of day release are of interest. Although the figure for the nation is 31 per cent., the percentage of craft apprentices on compulsory day release in the steel industry is as high as 74 per cent. I quote these figures to show that there is one industry which appreciates the opportunities for proper training now open and which is reaping the benefit of its efforts. After all, it has to compete with strong competitors overseas.
What are the problems facing this country in the allocation of its labour? Will there be a need for more skilled labour, for craftsmen, or will the need be for more workers having a lower grade of skill? The problem is diversified. It has been suggested that some firms or industries should predict their long-term needs. Some progressive firms endeavour to predict their long-term needs for apprentices, skilled or semi-skilled, but they have to take into consideration also possible changes in processes. When I was in Germany last year, I saw a completely new concept 334 for forging using a press instead of the traditional forge. The German approach was to carry out the forging, or cogging as it is technically known, of steel in such a way as to do it with unskilled labour by using a press.
In the foundry industry, a similar situation has arisen. There are new foundry processes—one is the Croning or Shell process, with which I am familiar—which do not require the old skills as we understood them five or ten years ago. New skills are involved. The idea of an overall estimate of what is required is difficult of attainment because no industry is static; it changes all the time. This is the problem facing individual companies as well as whole industries.
Some companies find, because of union arrangements, that they have to limit the number of apprentices, perhaps in the ratio of five to one, and they cannot take on more although they would like to do so. There have been problems of this kind in the shipbuilding industry and in various industries in my city. Until there is an arrangement between the management of a small company and the union concerned, the difficulty cannot be overcome.
My hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell) referred to the long time-serving apprenticeship, a concept which is now out of date. There is no reason why an apprentice who is taken on and trained properly should have to stay for any length of time under the eye of a skilled craftsman. On the other hand, in some industries, skills can be imparted only through observation, and there has to be a combination of both formal training and less formal training under the skilled craftsman. Again, this depends upon the nature of the industry
Certain industries have gone a long way towards cutting the training period needed to make a craftsman. I suggest that if it is cut to such an extent that a man is able to earn an appropriate piece rate in certain cases at the age of 19 or 20, the question arises whether he is able to compete with a man who has had longer experience in the industry and earned fair piece work. That is a problem which industry has to discuss and it is not a simple problem. I think there is a need to investigate whether the period of craft training can be cut and whether there are more efficient 335 methods of training. We already see that in some modern schools and particularly modern colleges for further education.
I wish to go back to the problem of co-ordination between the education authority or perhaps the university or college of technology or the technical college and the authority running the schools on the one hand and industry on the other. Again, I take a local instance. In my city and in other cities expansion in all these fields of education is going forward rapidly. New people are coming into those seats of learning and new people are running the courses. Although they may have guidance, the problem is to know what industry wants in a particular area. We cannot resolve that here or in London. It is a problem which is faced in various areas. Private industry responsible for its own survival should have the right to define its own requirements. That is granted in cretain areas. The education authorities have the problem of trying to make industry, individually and collectively, define its own problems. We cannot do much about that here but, to my knowledge, industrialists, trade unionists and education people are aware of that problem and are tackling it with vigour and energy.
This sort of problem faces a university with laymen and industrialists on its technical committees when trying to attract people into industry. There is the question of whether the graduate is going into management and research. If he is to go into management he must have suitable training so that he can learn various management techniques. Locally we have come across this question. The education authority has sponsored conferences between industry and schoolmasters, and schoolmasters have sponsored such conferences. One factor, which has not been mentioned in this debate, was a feature of one of those conferences. Training officers and those in industry regarded it as valuable. It is the apprentice who has character, integrity, honesty and diligence to cope with the frustrations of the factory floor and to serve his country and particularly the people he is working with effectively and well. This is not an academic requirement, but it is very important if people are to carry out their responsibilities in the factory
336 This has come out as an entirely new feature in discussions about Commonwealth Training Week. I have met various people who are developing projects overseas. This country provides capital equipment and we send technicians and technologists to such countries as Nigeria to construct and operate it. People who go out to those countries must not only understand the problems of their own trades, but they must be able to face the rigours and frustrations of a tropical climate. One observer told me that that type of characteristic is not so strong in people going from this country as it is in those from most European countries and from Australia. Not only must we train technicians and craftsmen but we must also provide men with the character and fibre to carry on their trades in the conditions of the country to which they go.
I wish also to refer to the work going on in the education field and developments there and their effect on industry. In secondary technical schools we have laboratories and workshops, and machine drawing is part of the curricula, and in colleges of further education there are workshops and facilities for the teaching of crafts, the basic problems of building, cement mixing, plumbing, electrical work and so on. The very existence of those colleges places a different proposition before industry. Industry locally has to take note of the fact that at least part of the basic apprentice training is now being carried out as part of the normal education before the apprentice enters industry.
Finally, I come to the question raised by hon. Members opposite of a national apprentice scheme. How much can we do nationally? Is it really practical, and how much should be left to be sorted out locally? I admit that there is room for progress. What we have seen in other countries, such as Germany and France, leaves us no room for complacency in this country, but industrial organisations and trade unions are aware of this. Surely the future development is not control from the centre but co-ordination and co-operation between industry and the unions who are aware of these problems. As we have a Minister for Science—instead of a Minister of Science—I suggest that my right hon. Friend should carry on the work he is doing in co-ordinating these various activities. There 337 is the example set by I.T.C. I think that industry, which is well aware of the conditions necessary for survival, will take due note of and welcome any help and advice received from my right hon. Friend.
§ 7 37 p.m.
§ Mr. Ifor Davies (Gower)
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) opened his remarks with the statement that we on the Opposition benches had painted too black a picture. I can assure him that in Wales the picture is not only black but extremely serious. I am glad to see the Parliamentary Secretary present because I am sure that my remarks, which will be particularly directed to the situation in Wales, will be of special interest to him.
I recall also the speech made by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke), who stated that many firms could not get the apprentices they needed. That is not the situation in Wales. The speeches we have heard from the. Government benches today have been remarkable for their complacency, but there are facts which show that there is no room for complacency about this very grave matter. I do mot think that the House has discussed a more important subject concerned with the well-being and future of the country than we are discussing today. The Parliamentary Secretary has been attacked by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) for some of his remarks in Committee upstairs three weeks ago. But I pay him at least one compliment. He put his finger on the main issue and asked what was the hub of the problem. He answered his question, but although I compliment him on putting his finger on the main issue, I do not compliment him on his answer to it.
Who is responsible for training in industry? If this debate does not answer that question we shall have been wasting our time. So far in the speeches from hon. Members opposite there has been no fresh approach to the matter. The Minister of Labour said that we must have a fresh look at it, but we did not get that fresh look. Instead we had repeated what has been said many times before. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary in his winding-up speech will be more practical in his approach than so far has been the approach of the Government.
338 We have also heard other Government speeches in complacent terms. I agree with the hon. Member for Hallam on one thing, that it is important that we should be discussing tonight this subject coinciding with Commonwealth Technical Training Week. Whatever may be the argument about this idea, it is a happy coincidence with this debate, because it provides an opportunity of creating a new awareness and bringing before the public mind the importance of this matter of training. I had the opportunity to be associated with the opening of some industrial exhibitions earlier this week, and I pay tribute to the organisers.
I thought that the Minister of Labour was unfair to my hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) who, I thought, made an excellent opening speech. In that speech he paid tribute to what has been done by many industrialists in this country, but I thought that the right hon. Gentleman overlooked that fact when he made an attack upon my hon. Friend for not paying that tribute. I join with my hon. Friend in saying that there are many firms, especially in Wales, which are doing great work in this connection. Richard Thomas and Baldwins is one which I have particularly in mind. There is also, of course, the National Coal Board. I spent many years in industry before coming here, and I have had great pleasure in devoting much thought to this subject. I can, therefore, from experience pay this tribute to many progressive industrialists and trade unions for their real interest.
The problem is not that nothing is being done but that not enough is being done. There are many progressive firms. These firms are progressive because they accept what was stated in the Carr Report—a very important statement which I do not apologise for repeating. The Report, on page 10, states:In the attention"—I regret that the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) is not in his place, but I informed him that I would quote matters relevant to his speech—that is rightly being paid to the need for technologists and technicians at the present time, there may be a tendency"—it is not "may be"; there is a tendency—to overlook the fact that it is the skilled craftsmen who are and will remain, the backbone of industry.339 That cannot be said too often in this country today.
If that is true, as I think it is, it may be related to the position in Wales at the present time. The Parliamentary Secretary quoted figures and I am therefore in good company in repeating them now. He reported that the proportion of boys and girls entering apprenticeship schemes in Wales is lower than that for the rest of the country. The figure is 23.8 per cent. compared with 36 per cent. We still have this low percentage despite the excellent efforts made by some industries. I refer in particular to the National Coal Board and its record in the South Wales coal fields for its annual intake of 400 apprentices. It is, of course, a nationalised industry and at the present time it has 1,200 youths under apprenticeship schemes as mechanics and electricians. That is a remarkably good record. Richard Thomas and Baldwins also has an excellent record.
What about the smaller firms? We tend to forget the importance of this matter, but the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson), in his excellent maiden speech, emphasised this point. Ninety-six per cent. of the firms in this country are employing less than 500 employees and hundreds of small firms have very few employees indeed. What are these small firms doing for training? If we relate this problem to the problem popularly known as the "bulge", it becomes even more serious.
I address my remarks particularly to Wales because we have heard so many speeches by the Minister for Welsh Affairs, the Minister of State and the Financial Secretary about the industrial position in Wales today and the fact that it is flowing over with industrial activity. We are told about the great progress there. We welcome that progress. But last year 27,000 boys and girls were school leavers. This year the estimate is 32,000, and next year the estimate is 36,000, an increase of 33⅓ per cent. in three years. Yet according to the Report of the Advisory Council of Technical Education in Wales—and despite the attacks made on the Report I want to pay tribute to many features of it—the prospect of apprenticeships is grim. It states on page 45:From both written and oral evidence"—340 this is my reply to the hon. Member for Hallam when he said that the picture painted is too black—given to the Council there seems little prospect of any increase in the number of craft apprenticeships offered in the immediate future ".This Report was published only a few months ago.It seems from this that industries in Wales will contribute little to the increase in the number of Britain's craftsmen that the Government hopes will be achieved in the next few years.I suggest that this is a particularly serious statement which we cannot ignore. Yet the Parliamentary Secretary boasted three weeks ago today that we need not worry about the position in Wales. He boasted that there were 28,000 jobs in prospect. He said:
"There does not seem to be any doubt, therefore, that the extra boys and girls who will come on to the employment market in the 'bulge' years will find not only employment but adequate employment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 10th May. 1961; c. 162.]
It is not a question of mere employment but of the kind of employment.
Concerning apprentices, the Report is the answer to the Parliamentary Secretary. The situation is extremely grim. I draw the attention of the Committee to another paragraph in this remarkable Report, on page 44, which refers to a questionnaire sent out to firms in Wales inquiring how many applications they had received for apprenticeships. The Report gives these remarkable figures. Between 1955 and 1957 there was an increase from 4,500 to 5,500, 21 per cent., in applications for apprenticeships. The number of craft apprentices actually recruited during that period was 12 per cent. Incidentally, according to the Report, the National Coal Board accounted for 95 per cent. of those recruited. The figures tell us that the apprenticeships in skilled crafts in Wales in 1957 totalled 2,800, but in 1958 they fell to 2,700 and in 1959 to 2,200. We cannot ignore these figures. The situation is far too serious for anybody to be complacent about it.
It has been said that the problem could perhaps be solved by group apprenticeships. In Wales there is only one group apprenticeship scheme. In west Wales, in particular, there is not a 341 single group apprenticeship scheme. I am aware of the report recently issued by the Industrial Council for Wales in which it was said that it was proposed to start a scheme in west Wales some time in the autumn but at present the only scheme in Wales is the experiment at Treforest.
I draw the attention of hon. Members to what was said by the president of the A.E.U. about group apprenticeship schemes at the annual conference of apprentices recently. He said,It is a scandal and a massive indictment upon industry that the progress of group apprenticeship schemes is so lamentably slow. Apart from the reluctance of so many smaller employers to participate in such schemes, it is deplorable to contemplate the lack of encouragement given in employers' quarters where much more sense of human and natural responsibility should be expected.These are very serious words from a person who holds an extremely responsible position.
As I said earlier, I have told the hon. Member for Mitcham that I intended to quote his words. In a speech in the House which he made on 30th June, when the House was debating the responsibility for setting up these committees, the hon. Member said:It was made clear that it was not for the Minister to set up these local committees but for industry, and it is industry that is failing, not the Government. Industry must be stimulated to take action."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th June, 1960; Vol. 625, c. 1612–13.]It is not hon. Members on this side of the Committee who said that but the hon. Member for Mitcham, but it is exactly what we say industry is failing to do. Obviously industry is falling down on its job. I come back to the main question in the debate—who should be responsible? If, as hon. Members opposite argue, industry should be responsible, then clearly industry is not measuring up to its task.
What is the alternative? If we are to be practical we must say exactly what we think is the answer. The Minister spoke of a fresh look which we did not get from him but I am convinced that a new approach is necessary. In the light of all the facts what this Welsh Report—and I do not apologise for making a further reference to it—suggests is a practical proposition; that is, that a national craft apprenticeship council with wide powers should be considered. 342 That is stated on page 51. The Report states,Since the future prosperity of the country depends on, among other things, an adequate supply of competent craftsmen, the Council regards the responsibility of recruiting and training craft apprentices as a national one. The position in Wales differs in many respects from that in many parts of England and in the opinion of the Council the only satisfactory solution would be the establishment of a national craft apprenticeship system.That is the recommendation of the Government's own Committee.
I differ from it in only one respect. The Report suggests that it should come under the Ministry of Education. I should prefer to see the Ministry of Labour at least partly responsible. I say that because I believe that the Ministry of Labour has reached a position in which the purpose of its earlier days has passed. It is not only an employment exchange. It is a place where employees and employers can receive advice. Many managers of employment exchanges are playing a most useful part today in the present situation and give valuable advice. I therefore feel that the Ministry of Labour will be a far more suitable Department to co-ordinate this work. Many interests must be respected, including the employers and the trade unions. They have a key part to play.
§ Mr. Davies
Yes, mainly because this is a great human problem. The Industrial Association for Wales in a recent publication agreed in principle with this proposal. On page 2 of its letter of 4th May it said:In regard to the establishment of a national apprenticeship training council it is generally considered that the setting up of such a body would materially assist those organisations who have neither the resources nor the facilities for adequate training.I suggest to the Minister that this proposal merits very serious consideration.
I know that other hon. Members wish to speak, and I will therefore turn my attention for only a few minutes to another matter of grave importance concerning training. A compliment was paid this afternoon to the Industrial Council and I want to join in complimenting the council on some features of its work. In recent months it has produced two publications. The first refers to the problem 343 of non-apprentices—although I do not like that word, which is so negative. It has produced an excellent publication which I hope the Minister has studied very closely. It has also produced in recent months an excellent publication on the relations between education and industry. The issue of non-apprentices is one of grave urgency, and far more attention needs to be paid to it, because the systematic training of boys and girls other than those who succeed in obtaining apprenticeships is a matter of great importance.
I have studied recently the Welsh Digest of Statistics and I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will be informed of my reference to it, because it makes a startling revelation of the serious situation in Wales. Table 20 shows the numbers of young persons entering employment in 1959, the last statistics available. The boys entering apprenticeships in skilled trades represent 23.1 per cent. of the total of boys between the ages of 15 and 17. Those entering employment leading to recognised professional qualifications total 1.3 per cent. Those entering clerical employment total 6.1 per cent. Those entering other employment total 69.3 per cent. This is very relevant to the speech made by the Duke of Edinburgh in which he drew attention to the large number of young people non-apprentices who are completely ignored for training. In other words, 69.3 per cent. of boys between 15 and 17 enter employment for which there is no planned training of any kind. Someone should get down to that task immediately after this debate closes.
I must confess that sometimes we overlook the importance of female labour. The position there is even worse. May I first pay tribute to the girls who have succeeded in obtaining apprenticeships in industry and who are proving to be so efficient in their work? But in Wales only 3.7 per cent. of the girls between 15 and 17 obtained apprenticeships in 1959. Those entering employment leading to recognised professional qualifications totalled 1.5 per cent.; those entering clerical employment, as one would expect was higher and represented 251.per cent; and those entering other employment totalled 69 per cent. The need for attention to 344 the training of non-apprentices is therefore urgent.
There are two immediate solutions. One is for far more organised practical training on the job. The second is greater encouragement for further education. I pay tribute to the Ministry of Education for what it has done in this matter, but it is not enough. There must be greater encouragement for further education in industry and commerce. I am sure that industry would benefit by extending day release not only for apprentices but for non-apprentice youths in industry.
I hesitate to cross swords with my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) who argued against day release, but from my own practical experience I have found that the combination of day release for apprentices together with practical training has proved most effective, and I am convinced that it can be equally effective for non-apprentices in industry and commerce.
It is my belief that the future well-being of this great country depends upon our efficiency in industry and commerce. That has been said many times, but it cannot be said too often. As my hon. Friend the Member for Newton said, and as I repeat forcibly, this is not a problem for industry alone or for the trade unions alone or for the industrial training officers or for local education authorities. It is clearly a matter for a planned economy. The Government should no longer be content to sit in the pavilion as an interested spectator. I urge the Minister of Labour and his Parliamentary Secretary to put on their batting gloves, to go out into the industrial field and to stay at the wicket until this great problem of training in industry has been solved.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Matthews (Meriden)
I wish to underline what my right hon. Friend said about taking a fresh look at the content and methods of training. One of our most pressing problems today in regard to young people entering industry is to develop in them a sense of responsibility towards their job and towards life in general. My experience as a tutor to a college of advanced technology teaches me that many of our young people have a very fine sense of 345 responsibility, but all of us in the Committee realise that there are also many thousands who have not that sense of responsibility.
It is equally important to nurture a capacity for true leadership, not only at the high level but at all levels right down the scale, in order to instil sufficient character for people to be able to make decisions, to work as members of a team and to handle the difficult problems of human relationships in industry.
These qualities call for more than technical education in itself can give. It needs more than a mere formal scheme of apprenticeship or a deed of apprenticeship. The Ministry of Education Circular No. 323 entitled "Liberal Education in Technical Colleges" stresses the importance of introducing a liberal element into technical education. It calls for experiments in this field, for only so will students develop a broad outlook and a sense of spiritual and human values as well as technical accomplishments. We all know, as the circular points out, that the liberal element in education depends just as much on how the subjects are taught as on what subjects are taught. We can take the lesson, maybe, from what some of the outsde bodies are doing here.
As an example I should like to quote what the Young Men's Christian Association is doing with regard to apprenticeship schemes. That association is providing citizenship courses for apprentices and other young workers in colleges at Kingsgate, in Kent, and Rhoose in Glamorgan. It is running halls for apprentices and hostels that in some instances are used by Ministries and private firms. It has four full-time secretaries whose task it is to go into the factories and run informal discussion groups for apprentices and other young workers during working hours. It takes parties of apprentices abroad, runs a national camp at Brockley and Lakeside, and co-operates with industry in running all sorts of courses—sailing, canoeing, mountaineering and so on.
From our experience in the training of the young worker for industry, it seems that it is desirable that these young men should go into residence in a hostel, a camp or a college. If they can do that, it can be an invaluable part of their industrial training. We know from work in 346 the Y.M.C.A. that many of the important truths of life are learned by fellowship—living together with men probably of maturer age—but a lot of this knowledge which is very fundamental to a young man's desire to learn and to improve himself in his job is learnt not in the classroom or in the workshop but in these outside activities, many of which take place during his leisure hours. In fact, the values we are needing in industry and which could previously be found in National Service will now need to be realised in other ways, and it is apparent in many cases that it is the supervisor or instructor who has the most influence in forming the habits and attitude of mind of these apprentices.
I should like to emphasise the importance of getting the right attitude of mind when the young man—or the young girl for that matter—is in the mood to learn and to make the effort to do so. When a boy or girl leaves school and starts work it is a very abrupt transition, and I should like to recommend that when we set up apprenticeship schemes we should start to think about getting the boy prepared one year at least before he leaves school. In these days of advancing maturity, when young people are maturing sexually and in other ways at a much earlier age, we are up against all the difficult problems of adolescence; the change from youth to manhood.
I believe that these problems have a great bearing on the training we can give to these young people in the skills of their work. We all know that adolescence causes emotional upsets, and sometimes great tensions. Many of these young people need some one independent to whom they can turn for guidance in their emotional problems which, as I say, have such a bearing on their work. I feel that very often the parents, the teachers, sometimes the clergy, and even welfare workers, are out of touch with these young people's needs and are unsympathetic towards them.
I should like to suggest that the increased leisure that young people now enjoy should be an opportunity to us, and also, if I may say so, a great challenge to work longer hours. I know lots of young people who are studying and training themselves for jobs work very long hours indeed, but we all know that there are an awful lot who do not. 347 If we are to meet the challenge of the Common Market we all have to work hard. I suggest that it should be a condition of participation in an apprenticeship scheme that boys and girls should attend an approved course which is designed to broaden their outlook. That course should not necessarily be an official Government one, but should also include some of the voluntary agencies, such as the Y.M.C.A.
Quite a lot has been said about the problems of the small firms. I worked for many years for a small firm and tried very hard to do something about this problem of training our young people. As we all know, the big problem is a shortage of staff and, in many cases, the very high turnover of young people. That is a big problem for small firms. They cannot spare the young people for day release—
§ Mr. Loughlin
I do not quite get the gist of this. In the first place, the hon. Gentleman tells us that the youngsters should be made to work longer hours and participate in technical courses—and, I take it, in liberal studies. At the same time, he says that the small employers cannot afford this. Is he suggesting that we have one yardstick for the employees and another for the employers?
§ Mr. Matthews
No, as I shall explain later. As to the longer hours, there are great opportunities for these young people in their leisure time to improve their knowledge and broaden their minds, but the small employer does face the problem presented in releasing his young people during business hours.
I do not think that any hon. Member has today suggested how this problem can be overcome. Contrary to what some hon. Members have said, I suggest that it is very often easier and better to learn one's job in a small firm, where one is working alongside an experienced man. I talk now only about small firms that have this difficulty of realising their staff. I would, however, make one necessary condition, and that is that if day release is not possible there must be some kind of additional training outside working hours when they can get training from a body quite independent of their employers.
348 We need to consider this problem not only in relation to the planned expansion of our technical colleges—which will be a very considerable expansion in years to come—but also in connection with the development of our youth services. These two services are complementary to each other. I believe that what youth needs today is a purpose in life to stimulate their great energies and give them a vision that is worth striving for. I submit that technical education on its own, and formal apprenticeship schemes on their own will not create the necessary inspiration.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. James Boyden (Bishop Auckland)
I am most grateful to be called on this side as the first Englishman representing an English constituency today. The problems of my constituency are really the greatly aggravated problems of the country as a whole, but I shall not dwell on them in particular.
The publication Technology described the Report of the Industrial Training Council as a "limp defence of a supine posture", and I think that those remarks could apply equally well to the right hon. Gentleman's speech. At one stage of the proceedings I expected his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education to kick him on the shins, but I suppose that that would be an unparliamentary gesture. When the Minister of Labour ventures into the realm of university complacency, I can only assume that he must have a postbag very different from that of most of us. Perhaps constituents do not write so much to Ministers as to back benchers. I can find no cause for satisfaction in the fact that in the last ten years the number of university places has increased at a rate of 2½ per cent. per annum. I should have thought that to be well below the sort of figure at which we should be aiming.
I could quote a number of university figures, but I shall give just one that illustrates the relative lack of progress in the university world. The number of places in university hostels and colleges—that is, the percentage of student places—is very little different from 1938—and this with a prosperous country which believes in university residence as a very important part of university training.
349 I was surprised that the Minister was so complacent about the increase in clerical employment, particularly that of girls. On 6th July of last year I asked the Ministry of Labour how many boys and girls had been apprenticed under the commercial apprenticeship scheme of the Association of Chambers of Commerce. I learnt that from the inception of the scheme in May, 1957 to 31st August, 1959, no girls had been apprenticed. I hope the Minister increases that figure. I was told that 170 boys had been apprenticed. This relates to thousands of boys and girls, and it is absolutely typical of the complacency of the right hon. Gentleman—
§ Mr. Hare
In fairness, I never for one second said that I was complacent about what was going on. I said that the results so far achieved were not all that discouraging, but I also said that, looking at the future, there was no ground for complacency. Further, talking about university places, I think that the hon. Gentleman would be fair enough to agree that, at least, far more progress has been made in the last ten years than in the five years before that.
§ Mr. Boyden
I rather expected that answer. If I had the figures with me now—I did not expect to have to bring them—I think that I could answer the Minister there. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will bring us up to date with the commercial apprenticeship schemes and tell us the numbers of boys and girls who have been apprenticed under them since 31st August, 1959. I shall be very glad indeed if the figure is outstandingly encouraging, but I fear the worst.
The Carr Committee, the Crowther Committee and, I think, everyone of good will would agree, have agreed and do agree that it is most unfair to penalise young people for the time at which they were born. In other words, we have a special obligation to the large number of young people who are about to enter industry for the first time this July. The Carr Report, however, says very little about the same principles being applied to where young people are born. The right hon. Gentleman referred to special measures being taken in areas of special difficulty, such as my own. I would be much obliged if the Parliamentary Secretary would say whit they are, because 350 we have not noticed their effect in my constituency in particular, and in the North-East in general.
I will go further and say that the nation has an obligation to children in regard to when they are born and where they are born. In these days of increasing production and affluence and expectation of improving standards, we should do better than in the past. That is; he indictment from this side of the general complacency of the Minister of Labour in this respect. Even the figures themselves, which are very unsatisfactory, are not reliable. I refer here to a small document Apprenticeship and the Bulge, published by the Fabian Society. [...] quotes the results of a survey made by the National Association of Youth Employment Officers relating to the welfare and subsequent jobs of 165,000 midsummer leavers in 1959. The results were published in 1960.
This is the figure that I think is quite surprising and very unsatisfactory. Youth employment officers, who really know the children, recommended 39 per cent. of the 83,000 boys as suitable for craft or technical training. It was discovered that, in fact, only 33 per cent. of boys got craft or technical training of that description. This figure is lower than it looks on the surface, because not all the boys recommended—that is the 39 per cent.—were necessarily the same as the 33 per cent. In other words, there still remains the suggestion of "jobs for the boys", not in the sense of the old school tie, perhaps, but that what the boss knows of his father has a very important bearing on getting the boy into an apprenticeship.
The Minister's own Committee in the Carr Report says that the actual figures are unsatisfactory, and asks industry to go into the situation to find out what the future demand for apprenticeships is likely to be and what the situation is. In its Report, the Industrial Training Council says that industry is unable to make an accurate diagnosis of what the situation is, and on page 4 of the last Report, the Council says:Some industries have carried out these assessments and they are mentioned in the latter part of this Report. Their results have provided valuable information, but insufficient for the Council to attempt to form any overall picture. Indeed, it is clear from them that the forecasting of future requirements of 351 manpower depends on so many unknown and unforeseeable factors that it is only possible to gain a general picture of broad trends.In regard to statistics, we have the Minister passing the problem to the Industrial Training Council, the Council passing it to industry and industry coming back and saying that the job is very difficult, if not impossible. This is not good enough. Surely, a country like ours with an efficient statistical department and a genuine interest in finding the answers to the problem will at least get the figures right. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to apply his mind to this particular problem. We have suffered from the Ministry of Education through precisely this problem in relation to the "bulge" and the provision of sufficient teachers.
The Minister of Education has badly miscalculated the number of teachers required, and time and time again we have had the Minister coming here and pretending that the situation is going very well when we knew that in fact it ought to be very much better. Even during those six or seven years in that ten-year period when everything was supposed to be going very well indeed, if he had applied his mind to this problem he could have produced rather better results. This is precisely the situation under which the Ministry of Labour is now labouring. It has not got the right answers, and does not seem to be getting them.
I do not want to be entirely critical and say hard words about the Ministry of Labour, but there are some obvious steps which could be taken which would improve the number of apprenticeships available and the training of young people going into industry. There is a very considerable need for much more pre-apprenticeship training in the 15–16 age group. My hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) referred to the activities of Middlesex County Council and there is a number of authorities which have made rather a special point of doing this by getting the young people trained. But it is far too inadequate. The number of Government apprenticeship centre schemes is far too few when the Government says this is a measuring rod the position is really pitiful. To take 132 new apprentices and 12 courses as a measuring rod is pitiful, 352 and if the Government were taking this seriously, I should have thought that there would have been several hundred classes and several thousand students.
I would say that the contemptuous dismissal in the Carr Report of the French Government apprentissage schemes is most deplorable. There is a very serious responsibility on the Government for doing something more substantial in this field.
The Carr Report states in one place that one of the great difficulties is the shortage of building resources, and that it is better to leave what there is in the industry to get on with the problem, because the building industry is overstretched, or words to that effect. Again, this is a comment on the Government's policy of first a boom, and then a slump, and then a boom again, so that it is quite impossible for the building industry to plan efficiently in producing the apprentices it needs. There is bitter complaint in the Industrial Training Council's Report that apprenticeship schemes are not developed as they should be. It is not only that, but also that the actual building industry has been so badly mismanaged in relation to the nation's needs. Time and time again right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench, whether it be the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health or the Minister of Labour, say that they cannot provide the buildings because the building resources are not there.
I wonder sometimes whether this is not a cover for not being willing to find the financial resources, but I think it is a combination of both. The Government's planning of building is inadequate and their willingness to provide the money is also inadequate. For a country of our level of productivity not to be able to find the buildings for apprenticeship training schools is really beyond comment. There is a very serious need for more apprentices and more skilled workmen. I remember the Minister of Transport being almost in tears about his inability to get his road programme completed because he had not got the skilled workpeople to deal with the kerbs, or something like that, without going into the technicalities. It was quite impossible to satisfy the demand. The building industry has experienced a shortage of skilled people, in the same way as the 353 British Transport Commission was unable to proceed as fast as it wanted with the modernisation programme because of the shortage of the signalling equipment people.
So we now find that almost at every turn there are shortages and difficulties because of the inadequacy of trained people and we are now coming to a situation in which thousands of extra young people are going into industry. I agree at once when the right hon. Gentleman claims that there is not a problem of employment here but of suitable employment. As regards the figures for Easter, in the six-weeks period they were very satisfactory and better than I expected them to be, but that is not the problem of this debate, which is that there are not enough skilled people to do skilled jobs and to do justice to the ambition of young people themselves.
Perhaps I might now go on to one or two constructive suggestions. It is mentioned in the Carr Report that in factories or works we need people who are interested in training apprentices-supervisors who have some sympathy with training and who know about it I know that the training within industry scheme is very widespread and that It has since the beginning of the war done a very good job, but I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman could tell me if the scheme has been very much developed since the early days of the war. I had a feeling in 1947, when I myself took one of these courses, that the scheme was rather rigid, and that the actual problem of the training of supervisors was not as flexible and adaptable as it should be. I should like to hear what essential changes have been made in the methods used so that they are more up to date and more in keeping with the very best modern trends in technical education and supervision. I am sure that it is vitally important in both small and large groups of industry that there should be people interested and with the knowledge to look after the welfare of apprentices.
One single improvement, the one great measure, lies outside the right hon Gentleman's responsibility—raising the school-leaving age to 16 and attempting to get the county colleges going. That would be the greatest single factor in 354 solving most of these problems. We have all badgered the Minister of Education and the Government generally on this theme. Here, again, the shortage of teachers is only half the answer. I am as well aware as anybody of the difficulties of overcrowded classes and the shortage of teachers, but the same sort of complacency exists in the Ministry of Education in this respect as in the Ministry of Labour.
Finally, the Government ought to do three things. They ought to offer financial inducements to encourage apprenticeships. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer can have payroll tax as a regulator, it follows that there could be financial inducements for the taking on of apprentices. It is to be hoped that if the payroll tax is introduced, there will be regional preferences and preferences in relation to apprenticeships. I shudder to think of what will happen in the North-East, if the payroll tax is applied indiscriminately, to our particular economic and social problems.
The second main problem which the right hon. Gentleman should get down to is having a much more efficient and widespread organisation of small firms. That is within his powers if he appoints enough training officers and spends enough money on it.
Thirdly, although it is a relatively minor matter—though not to the people concerned—the Advisory Committee on Youth Employment Officers has commented several times on the inadequate training which those officers get and has been critical of the quality of the people coming forward. One knows from one's own experience—and from an Answer which I got on 2nd May, 1960—that many youth employment offices are inadequate. On 2nd May, 1960, I was told that 13 bureaux needed serious repairs and in only two cases have the extensive repairs required to make them up to date been achieved. I am sure that 13 is the minimal figure and I find the attitude of the Ministry to youth employment officers and their offices is as inadequate as I find its attitude to apprentice training.
The truth is that the Ministry of Labour has bean too ignorant, too complacent, and too slow. The only redeeming feature is that the two Ministers are nice chaps.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)
This has been an interesting debate which has ranged over many subjects. One of the difficulties has been the vast range of subjects and hon. Members have tended to speak from the point of view of their own industry or their own constituency. I should like to say how much I appreciated the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell)—unfortunately I was attending a meeting of the Estimates Committee and did not have the privilege of hearing the maiden speech of the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson)—for it was a pleasure to hear a new Member who has such an intimate knowledge of this vast problem.
I am bound to look at this matter primarily from the point of view of the building industry, to which the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) referred. The building industry rather typifies the problem, because it contains a large number of small firms and a small number of large firms.
The larger firms are able and willing to get down to apprenticeship schemes and hon. Members would be amazed at the amount of trouble in training, not only of the apprentices themselves but of the officers who are to train them, which is undertaken. My own company has a film on the subject which is shown in schools.
Reference has been made in the past to the problem of getting people to train youngsters. That is a great problem. The best technician is not necessarily the right man to train a person, any more than a natural cricketer is the right man to train a boy to play cricket. Some-body who has had difficulty in learning himself often makes a better teacher than a person with a natural aptitude. The Technical Training Week, which I welcome, will have a bearing on the problem from a national point of view. Yesterday I opened a training week in my constituency, and had the opportunity of talking to many schoolmasters. Most of them appreciate the difficulties and the need for technical training and education, although a few take the view that school examinations come first.
I want to see much more integration. Pupils should be encouraged from an 356 early age—14 or 15—to visit factories as part of their curriculum. I would welcome a general knowledge test of industry, even in the G.C.E. examination, to allow children to appreciate the different types of industry, because I hold the view that we tend to look down upon instead of up to this problem. Not sufficient has been said in the debate about the apprentices themselves. We must create a desire among them to be good tradesmen and somehow to recreate the old craft system which existed in the Middle Ages, without all the horrors that applied to it. It is possible that that can be done educationally.
I agree that progress in the building industry was very slow in the past, but it is now very great. When I was an apprentice my first six months was spent boiling kettles and taking tea-cans round on a stick. Apprentices do not have to do that now. In the Institute of Builders we have a course which is open to tradesmen and apprentices. We are raising their status and giving them a desire to better themselves. We are giving them, in fact, professional status.
In the same way we have considered whether we should shorten the period of apprenticeship. There is a good argument for cutting it down by one year, especially in view of mechanisation. Mechanisation itself is creating a further problem in our industry, because its introduction in respect of many operations has meant that our horse-power per man is rising each year, and with it efficiency. That brings with it the problem of training mechanical engineers.
There is much discussion in our industry about one firm stealing apprentices from another, but the building industry also suffers because it trains most of our carpenters, and when a shipyard wants a carpenter it snatches him from our industry. The shipyards cannot provide as much continuous work for carpenters as can the building industry. We therefore train not only our own apprentices but those who go to other industries.
The Ministry, through its schools and technical education colleges, could do much to inculcate a desire for better apprentices. I also suggest that the Minister should consider a scheme which I have not thought out in detail but which he may care to develop if he is interested. After the First World War 357 we wanted to employ disabled ex-Service men, and we started a scheme whereby any firm employing them could print a badge on its notepaper, to indicate that it was helping in this national effort. I suggest that we need a national effort now, and that we could start a similar scheme, in which each firm agreeing to day release—and I accept that that is probably the right approach—could be allowed to make this fact known by means of a symbol on its note-paper. We could also consider giving preference—everything else being equal—to such firms in respect of Government contracts. The scheme would build up a feeling that we were making a national effort.
In my constituency we are developing technical education for catering. This country is now extending its travel facilities and is bringing in more visitors, and we should show a better appreciation of cooking. I congratulate the Ministry on arranging and getting its schools going. I do not think that there are enough of these schools in this country. I think it is wrong that if an hotel in this country is to gain a reputation, it has to have a chef with a foreign-sounding name. I think that a few Smiths and Joneses among our chefs might lead to an appreciation of good English cooking.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)
The hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) concluded with some attractive suggestions regarding cooking, but I will not follow the hon. Gentleman on that subject. I wish to support what he said about young people in schools being brought into closer contact and gaining knowledge of different kinds of industry before they leave school, but this should apply to those students who are not likely to be following an academic course. I agree with what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson) and also with some of the remarks by the hon. Lady the Member of Petersfield (Miss Quennell). This problem of youth training for industry should be tackled by the provision of pre-apprenticeship schemes in the schools. From then on some apprenticeship training could be given.
358 For far too long we have concentrated on what we sometimes call the "lad of parts"—those who would be going to the university—and we have forgotten that 85 per cent. to 90 per cent. of our school population is composed of those young people on whom industry will have to depend. They will be the future transport workers, joiners, builders and the rest. There are different ways of being clever and for far too long we have failed to make proper provision for these young people.
Professor Galbraith has cryptically remarked that either one learns maths, and science, or Russian, and there is a great deal of truth in that. This country depends on the ability and skill not only of our teachers but of out young people in industry, and we must remember that 90 per cent. of our school population will be the future technologists and technicians or just plain tradesmen.
I was bitterly disappointed with the speech of the Minister of Labour. We heard the same old stuff, a repetition of speeches which we have heard in the past. It was a clear indication that the Government are not yet seized of the challenge of the times in which we live nor of the problems which have to be overcome. The Minister said, to take away some of the blame which may be placed on other Ministers, that White Papers have been published. We need action. We have had White Papers published since 1950. There were White Papers in 1956 and some of the proposals then made have not yet even been attempted.
The Minister went on to say that the real test lay somewhere in the future. This is the point of the debates. These problems are raised year after year. Despite the fact that the Government have been in office for about ten years we have been given only the Industrial Training Council. Even this afternoon the Minister said that we have had more conferences, more leaflets, and more committees than ever before. He ran away from the point on which he was challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), who asked the Minister what the Government intended to do about compulsory day release. The Minister said that discussions were still going on.
359 The Government must realise that people in the country, and many hon. Members on the benches opposite, believe that this question of the training of young people should not be left to industry alone. It is a problem which must be tackled by everybody—by parents, by teachers, by trade unions, and by the Government. But, only the Government can formulate the necessary legislation to empower young people to go on day-release courses for further training.
Turning to the difficulties of the small employer, it may be of interest to the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe that within the building industry in Scotland even today the difficulties are more acute than in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, a proposal is now under consideration that a levy should be made on firms in accordance with the number of people employed and that the money should be redistributed on the basis of the number of apprentices trained. The figures for day release in Scotland compared with those south of the Border are deplorable. In many cases only a quarter of the young people are released for day-release training.
§ Mr. Costain
The structure of the building industry in Scotland is different from that in England. In Scotland, the work is much more sub-divided and the architects take on a greater degree of control of the job than they do in England. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman appreciates that the Brixton School of Building is doing a magnificent job of work with its day-release scheme.
§ Mr. Hannan
There are many examples of firms with excellent apprentice schemes which cannot be matched anywhere in the world. That is the sort of thing which the Minister trots out now and again, but we are not satisfied with the overall position. The difficulty is how to induce, or, as I think, compel, employers to allow young people to go on day-release courses and get away from the old-fashioned idea that after, we hope, a hard day's work they should go to night school. Even the Crowther Report suggested that twice the number of young people would be successful as a result of day-release studies compared with those who went to night school.
360 The Ministry of Labour Report for 1960 tells us that although the number of school leavers in 1960 was lower than in 1959, the number going in for industrial training had risen from 119,000 to 123,000. That is nothing to boast about. It means an increase of 1.6 per cent. In the circumstances prevailing today, that is inadequate for our purposes.
In Glasgow alone, between 1955 and 1958, there was a decrease of 30 per cent. in the intake of craft apprentices. These are the sort of things that are worrying us in Scotland. It is, fundamentally, a question of employment in the areas of Scotland, Wales and the North-East—and then it is a question of apprentices.
We are told that the number taking advantage of the day-release facilities has gone up since 1956; in Scotland from 28,000 to 35,000 and in Glasgow from 7,000 to 9,300. I must point out, however, that most of the increase in Glasgow is in engineering, and it is due largely to the release of apprentices over 18 years of age, and not those under 18. Of all day-release engineering students in Glasgow, 60 per cent. are outwith the 15 to 18 age group, yet it was envisaged that the day-release scheme would become compulsory for all apprentices.
It has been the case for many years, and it is still true today, that only 10 per cent. of the young people in Scotland are being released for daytime studies. It is part of my case that the Government must make an early statement on this question of compulsory day release so that unwilling employers will be made to help young people over their difficulties.
Merely to give the right to a young worker to claim day release is not the proper way to go about it. It is not an effective answer to the problem, and this is a matter which should receive the Parliamentary Secretary's immediate attention. It is true, I must admit, that if compulsory day release were made really compulsory, local education authorities might be unable to cope with the immediate shock of the full implication of the 1946 Act and the consequential rush of students.
Therefore, a phased plan is required. That is the trouble with the present Government. That is the fundamental difference between hon. Members on 361 this side of the Committee and hon. Gentlemen opposite. We believe in planning this comprehensively. Hon. Gentlemen opposite do not.
§ Mr. F. J. P. Lilley (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
I have listened with interest to the arguments the hon. Gentleman has adduced. Is he aware that in the City of Glasgow the education authority has, in fact, removed all contract work from contractors and has placed it in the hands of direct labour? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that at least four firms in Glasgow have paid off all their apprentices because they had no work for them?
§ Mr. Hannan
That has about as much to do with the subject I am raising as have the flowers in May. It is on that point, however, that I wish to inform the Parliamentary Secretary that if he does not watch out, buildings will be there but there will be such a dearth of students that they will not be fully occupied. Action is needed by the Ministry of Labour to ensure that the 1946 Act is enforced so that compulsory day release is fully implemented. The new accommodation cannot be built on the unpredictable desires of young people for release, nor can it depend on the whims of employers. There must be some form of planning so that local authorities know what accommodation is required.
We have been pressing the Secretary of State for Scotland about the building programme. The Glasgow programme provides for three central colleges and three local colleges, and a further three local colleges are planned. They provide for 28,000 places, but this is an act of faith on the part of the local authority based on the potential demands of industry and commerce. They are designed to meet the specific needs of vocational education, but it is becoming apparent to those in Glasgow handling these matters that, unless compulsory day release is put into operation, these projects may turn out to be a costly error of judgment. The Secretary of State for Scotland knows that it is because of lack of action on the part of the Government concerning day release that this terrible situation could arise.
Finally, I wish to refer to the Scottish Education Department's White Paper on Technical Education in Scotland. There are many statements in it which I welcome 362 come and with which I agree. Many of the criticisms and proposals made in it justify the speeches which we have made in the past. Paragraph 12 states that:The increasein day-release studentsfalls short of what might be expected if the Scottish economy is to keep abreast of modern developments".It goes on to say that the attention of the Scottish Technical Education Consultative Council has been drawn to this situation. There are other paragraphs in it dealing with the new form of technical education. It seems to me to be following the pattern suggested in previous debates and referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and by the hon. Lady the Member for Petersfield, of keeping a fairway for the 90 per cent. of our young people who are to be the future technologists and technicians. It is the Education Department's job to educate young people, and, while we are trying to provide the other fairway for people going to university, let the Government get on with the job of providing day release and other things necessary for the main stream of our young people and for the future of the country.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)
I shall tend to make a rather controversial speech on some points, and it would be as well, therefore, if I started with something on which I am sure we are all unanimous. We have welcomed two outstanding maiden speeches. My hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. J, Robertson made a maiden speech which attracted more attention than any maiden speech to which I have listened. He was heard with tremendous attention by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee. He spoke from a great deal of practical experience. I thought that he made a most effective contribution to our debate. We also enjoyed the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell), who also spoke from experience and, I believe, did something of great value in drawing attention to the links between training in technical colleges and the industrial problems which have concerned us for most of the evening.
Another feature of the debate has been that almost every hon. Member who has 363 spoken has shown concern about the critical situation facing this country in industrial training. It might be asked, therefore, what is the division between the two sides in the debate? The division between us can be summed up in this way. We on this side believe that this is a matter in which the Government cannot abdicate their responsibility. The Government share—indeed the Minister, from his speech, clearly shares—our concern about the critical nature of the problem. Where we differ from the right hon. Gentleman and from his hon. Friends is that we regard this as a matter which demands much more energetic action from the Government.
I wish that we had had a speech also from the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr), who has been mentioned a great deal in this debate. Hon. Members have referred to the Report issued by the Carr Committee, of which the hon. Member was chairman. I understand that the hon. Member intended to speak in the debate which was to have taken place a few weeks ago but that he was unable to do so today. He has not authorised me to speak in a proxy capacity, but it would be fair for me to comment that he has recently made speeches in public indicating that he now feels that the recommendations of the Carr Committee did not go nearly far enough. The hon. Member is one of many influential people who have spoken in favour of some kind of an industrial training levy, to which reference has been made several times during the debate.
There have been two main themes to the debate. One is the challenge of the bulge generation and the need to expand the amount of technical and industrial training to meet the needs of that generation. The other theme is the interesting discussion which we have had, from both sides of the Committee, on the nature of apprenticeship and industrial training in general. I intend to devote most of my speech to the challenge of the bulge and the opportunity that it affords. A great deal more attention must, however, be given to the question of what constitutes a proper apprenticeship or proper industrial training in the second half of the twentieth century.
It is now something like 400 years since our predecessors in the House of 364 Commons passed the Statute of Artificers. They would be astonished to find today just how many aspects of that Statute are still being followed in our apprenticeship system. A great many of the methods that we have followed throughout the years are now clearly becoming out of date and several features need to be examined closely and changed. One of these is the rigid five-year plan that applies to nearly all apprenticeships, no matter what trade people contemplate following.
It has been clear for a long time, for example, that more training is needed for, say, a cabinet maker than for a house painter. There are all kinds of variations. It would be appropriate for some people to have a great deal less training than five years and some, perhaps, to have a great deal more.
There would be general agreement also that apprenticeship should be concluded by taking some kind of test and by meeting some kind of standards in the training which has been undergone. The fact is that we are still too much inclined to regard apprenticeships from the time-serving aspect rather than as a part of training. That is something on which we need to change our attitude.
Again, there would be general agreement that for too long we have continued to accept too rigid age limits for starting and finishing apprenticeships. Several years ago, a productivity team from this country went to the United States and commented on the fact that it met a number of apprentices there in their thirties and even one aged 60. The productivity team stated that it was time that we had more flexibility in the matter, and certainly it is. There are a great many boys and girls who just "miss the bus". They do not start in time. They make up their minds too late what they want to do, and the existing rigidity denies them an apprenticeship.
We must give much more attention to the standards of training. I was glad that the Minister referred to this and to the fact that it should no longer be good enough for a man simply to be expected to pick up his trade by working for many years beside a skilled worker, irrespective of whether such a skilled worker is interested in, or capable of, teaching him.
365 We should also have regard to the fact that we need to train far more people to do a bigger variety of skilled work. One of the faults of our system is that we train people for one craft and one craft only, and if one is certain about anything in the forty or fifty years ahead of the working life of those now leaving school it is that our industry will have to become much more flexible and to stand up to an increasing tempo of change. We need people who will have acquired in their training an ability to turn their hand to a number of different types of skilled work.
The tempo of change is increasing all the time. Perhaps it is not inappropriate to mention that ten years ago Major Yuri Gagarin was being trained as an apprentice moulder in an iron foundry in a Moscow suburb. I suppose that most apprentices will not have to face as great a change as he has, but, nevertheless, they will have to face changes, and this calls for flexibility in these matters.
The last of these general aspects to which I refer is that we must get away from the rigid division between the skilled man who has served his time and all the rest who have not served their time. What is needed, as one or two hon. Members have mentioned, is a much wider spectrum of training in which people are trained for various periods for various kinds of skill all being able to say that they have gone through a period of training and that they have obtained some sort of qualification.
A certain number of our firms, I think our best firms, are breaking away from this old rigid definition. In the sugar industry they have training for semi-skilled operatives, as they have in the chemical industry and some other industries, but it is still the exception rather than the rule. In all these matters I think that we must look ahead to more flexibility.
I am conscious that in the last few minutes I have touched very briefly—far too briefly—on a number of important aspects of this problem. I have rushed through this because I want to spend most of my time talking about the quantity of training and the challenge presented by the "bulge". Nevertheless, I believe that the Minister was entirely wrong when he said that, because the bulge is on top of us and because we need to extend training for it, this is not 366 the time to engage in a major examination of the apprenticeship system. I believe that this is the very time to do it. I believe that an energetic approach by the Government to the problems which I have been posing, and which many others have posed at greater length, would itself help to solve the problem of quantity, too.
If we had a situation in which the Government were initiating a great deal more industrial training, they could at one and the same time increase the numbers who are being trained and experiment in new approaches to the whole problem of training. We must not see the quality of training and the quantity of training as two things which are opposed to each other. We need a great deal more quantity and a great deal better quality, too. We on this side of the Committee believe that the Government have been far too inactive in tackling both aspects of this problem.
In posing the problem of the "bulge" there is one mistake which all of us tend to make—and I plead guilty to this, with others. We talk of it too much as an economic problem. We tend to forget that first of all it is a human problem This year, in about two months' time, the number of school leavers will be about 110,000 more than it was a year ago. Near the end of July, 1962, it is estimated that there will be 170,000 more school leavers than there were last year, and in 1963, again, an extra 110,000. This is about 400,000 extra human beings leaving school and starting their working lives in the next three years.
I do not like many of the generalisations which are made about modern youth and I hesitate to add another, but perhaps this would be a safe generalisation to make—that if these people are let down in their chances in starting life we shall be doing an injustice to every one of them and shall be piling up a tremendous social cost which the whole community will have to pay.
We are entitled on behalf of these hundreds of thousands of young people to demand, first, that there should be enough extra jobs for them and, secondly, that there shall be enough so that they can change their jobs. We know the problem of the young school leaver who does not like his job and wants to change to another. Thirdly, 367 we demand that there should be enough jobs with training opportunities. These three things are linked with each other. It is fairly clear that the first essential is a state of full employment for the school leaver. We shall not solve the training problem if there is not a state of full employment for the school leaver.
The Minister felt optimistic about the situation and I hope that he is right. Without in any way wishing to be alarmist, we must remind him of two things. The first is that in Scotland on the North-East Coast, in parts of Wales and other parts of the country there has already been difficulty in placing school leavers in work before the "bulge" comes on to the labour market. That is a particularly difficult problem in those areas. Secondly, when we talk of full employment for school leavers we are not only talking about this year but next year and the year after, when there will still be this "bulge" on the labour market. We cannot afford to have an economy which goes ahead by fits and starts in the way in which our economy has done in recent years.
If there were any kind of recession in this period, even a minor one, the school leavers would be the first to suffer. It is fairly obvious that a firm, before making others redundant, would stop taking on new workers and the school leavers would be the first victims. Therefore, we have to be alert to the problem of full employment without in any way being alarmist about its prospects. We have to remember that those regions which in the last twelve months have had the highest degree of full employment have offered the greatest number of apprenticeships. The figures issued by the Ministry of Labour show that in the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire last year 45 per cent. of school leavers went into apprenticeships or some kind of organised training, about 10 per cent. more than the average for the rest of the country. I do not think there is any question that districts with the lowest degree of unemployment are able to do that, whereas on Merseyside, in Wales and in other parts of the country the average number entering apprenticeships has been very much lower than the average for the country as a whole.
368 This is a human problem and it is also a tremendous economic opportunity. However much we criticise the Can Report, there is one thing for which we should be thankful and one thing in it which is always worth referring to. It showed very clearly that the "bulge" was not something that we ought to regard as an embarrassing social problem but that it was an opportunity to the country—a once for all opportunity—to train in a few years an extra large number of skilled workers. That is an opportunity which we cannot afford to miss. We already have the situation in which there is a shortage of skilled workers in many areas. In most skilled trades in most parts of the country there are three or four times as many vacancies as there are people looking for work. This is even so when there is a degree of local unemployment. Even in the recession in the early part of 1958 and 1959, when the total number went above 600,000 unemployed, there was still a shortage of workers in a number of skilled crafts. If one thing is certain about the rest of this century it is that the shortage of skilled workers will remain a problem and will become a greater problem as industrial change becomes faster.
When the Minister of Labour spoke at the beginning of the debate he recognised all these problems, but what he could not tell the Committee, and what no member of the Government can tell the Committee, is what are our prospects of succeeding in dealing with this problem of the "bulge" and in seeing that there is an extra number of skilled jobs available. I wish to quote from Technology of last January which, speaking about this problem, used these words:One can imagine the entire I.T.C. walking about for the next eight months with fingers crossed, frantically dodging both black cats and propped ladders and trying to convince each other that all will come right 'on the night'. It looks one of the biggest gambles outside of Las Vegas.If that was true then the Industrial Training Council and the Minister of Labour still do not know if we shall succeed in solving this problem.
Without being an alarmist in any way, the only conclusion that we can come to is that the number of training places offered by industry to school leavers is 369 not likely, on the evidence available, to measure up to the extra number of school leavers at the end of this summer. In saying that, I do not want to be in any way alarmist or to denigrate the work which the Industrial Training Council is doing. My hon. Friend paid tribute to the work it has done, the pamphlets produced and the conferences held. It is all very good, but it is on far too small a scale. Something much more is needed. This is a challenge to the employers and to the trade unions but particularly to the Government.
I feel that, despite our criticism of the Government, we ought on this side of the Committee to support the Minister in the exhortations he is making to industry We think that he should do much more. Nevertheless, we do not want to say anything to suggest that we do not support the kind of speeches that he is making at regional conferences, asking industry to take a larger number of trainees.
Concerning the employers, there are many hon. Members opposite in influential positions in industry who should be, and I hope are, using their influence personally to see that firms with which they are connected take on more apprentices and more trainees this year, next year and the year after.
There would sometimes seem to be a conflict between the things which firms are asked to do in the interest of the country and their own short-term interest. They may feel from time to time that it is not in the interest of their shareholders to respond to an appeal of this kind. Even on the basis of self-interest, I sometimes wonder whether many of the employers in this country are not taking far too short-sighted a view. The "bulge" is not just an opportunity for the nation, it is an opportunity for each individual firm. On the law of averages, if there are more hoys and girls leaving school, there are also likely to be more boys and girls who are potentially good apprentices, and the bigger the supply of potentially good skilled workers coming from the schools this year, next year and the year after for the firms or industries prepared to take advantage of it.
In a period when the tempo of industrial change is so rapid there will be an advantage to the firm which is able to train an extra number of skilled workers 370 and to retain them by offering wages and conditions that are attractive, so that they will not be attracted away to other firms. Therefore, I hope that this effort will be made and supported particularly by hon. Members who have influence with employers of labour.
Similarly, I hope that that every hon. Member—and perhaps this applies more to this side of the Committee—will take the same message to the trade unions. I have in my pocket a fully-paid-up trade union card and I have been for twenty-one years a member of a trade union, so perhaps I am entitled to speak bluntly on this subject. I would agree that just as there are some employers—too many employers—who drag their feet in this matter, there are some people in the trade union movement who drag their feet as well. I would add that there are too many employers who use the trade unions as a scapegoat for their own failures. There is an inclination to say, "We won't do any more because the trade union may not like it."
I think that that is too ready an excuse and sometimes a false excuse. A number of trade union leaders have played their part on the Carr Committee and the Industrial Training Council and have come forward with ideas of their own for expanding industrial training in their own fields. The chairman of the Industrial Training Council is Mr. George Lowthian, the leader of the building trades' workers, and many other leading trade unionists have played a big part in this work. Nevertheless, there is a feeling among some sections of the trade union movement that too many skilled people may be trained. It is a fear based on experience and it is a fear that deserves to be respected. There is the fear of what would happen in a slump, the fear that boys who have served their time and who have gone through a period in which they have been paid less than others will find that there is no demand for their skill.
That is a real risk, but the point which needs to be put across time and time again is that there are far greater risks in a policy of not training enough young people. The point that trade unionists must, I think, recognise is that, if there is a slump or a recession, it is generally the unskilled man who loses his job first and, indeed, a shortage of skilled labour 371 might well become one of the causes of a future recession or slump in this country.
When all has been said and done, when one has spoken of the position of employers or the position of trade unionists in this matter, when one has recognised that boards of directors or executive committees of trade unions have their primary duty towards their own shareholders or their own members as they see it, the responsibility for the country as a whole remains only with the Government. This is the point to which we return in this debate. Whereas the Minister may make the right sort of appeal in his public speeches and whereas we may support him in that appeal, we believe that exhortations will not solve the problem. Something much more energetic must be done by the Government themselves.
If we look at what has been done in other countries, in France, in Western Germany, in Australia, in the United States, in the Netherlands and in many other places, we see that there is one common feature: in every case the Government themselves have stepped into the field. The Government have set up some kind of national authority with powers to stimulate industrial training. This is something which should be done in this country. Yet at this moment, in the very year of the "bulge", the Government have come forward with a proposal which will make the position worse. I refer to the payroll tax. It is amazing that, at the very time when the Minister of Labour is going about the country making his speeches, the Chancellor of the Exchequer produces a proposal which is likely to make matters worse.
Some people have suggested to me that, of course, the payroll tax is so stupid that it will never be imposed. The point is that, even if it is never imposed, if it is on the Statute Book it will be a disincentive to firms which are planning apprenticeship schemes for five years ahead. They will not know when, or if, it will be imposed. They will not know to what extent it will be imposed or for how long. It will add a factor to their costs which will discourage them from doing the very thing which the Government ask them to do. I hope that hon. Members opposite who have spoken in this debate, even if they cannot support 372 us all the way, will at least support Amendments of ours to the Finance Bill which are designed to get rid of this tax or, at any rate, to prevent it applying to young workers under 21.
A great many constructive ideas have been put forward in the debate from both sides of the Committee, particularly, if I may say so, from this side, about what the Government ought to do in this situation. I wish to mention one or two of them which seem to me to be most important. The first is the idea of some kind of differential training levy. As the Minister himself said, this has operated in France for many years with success. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he has sent some of his officials to France to study the way it works. I can only say that I hope that, if they come back with a favourable report, there will be action taken on it very quickly indeed. It is a challenging idea. It is a way of getting at and penalising the firm which poaches labour that others have trained.
The differential training levy can operate in such a way that the firm which does its share of training breaks even, that the firm which does more than its share receives a subsidy, and that the firm that does less than its share is subject to a really punitive tax as a result of its policies. If the Government were to announce in the next few weeks that they intended to introduce such a levy, even if it took a little time to bring it into effect—even if it did not come into effect before this year's school leavers left school—the very fact that it had been announced would have a certain moral effect and firms would say, "The Government mean business. They intend to do something, and they will not let us get away with policies which mean that we do not do our share." I believe that such a move by the Government would have a bigger effect, perhaps, than any other single measure which they could take in the short term.
A great many hon. Members have suggested that there should be some kind of national apprenticeship council. I wish to amend that suggestion in one detail. I do not think that we should call it a national apprenticeship council. We need a national training council covering training of all kinds including training which falls short in some 373 ways of what is now regarded as apprenticeship. All the Government have done is to set up the Industrial Training Council, with very limited powers and a very small budget. It has a part-time committee of very busy men and a tiny full-time staff. Within those limitations, the Council and its staff have done a good job, but what is needed is something much more positive, some sort of national bureau which will have a directory of apprenticeship training schemes, which will know what is happening, which will be able to stimulate improvements in training, which will, indeed, act as a power house of ideas in the whole matter of training, a body which will employ a team of training development officers who can go throughout the country and advise firms on training schemes and organise group schemes for smaller firms.
The Industrial Training Council now employs a few training development officers. It employs nine training development officers—nine officers in a country of 50 million people. That is an indication of the scale of the Government's effort. We need something very much bigger than that.
The Government must recognise the need today for more training in Government training centres and in local education authority training colleges. I do not go all the way with the Report of the Advisory Committee for Wales, but I think that there should be a much bigger share taken by the education system in this country. I believe also that the local education authorities should be encouraged or, if necessary, forced to follow the example which was given by the Middlesex County Council under a labour majority. Unfortunately, it no longer has a labour majority, but I hope that the schemes which it has developed will remain. It has developed arrangements for group apprenticeship schemes throughout Middlesex in which the local technical training college acts as a centre and plans with a number of firms in the locality apprenticeship schemes, particularly with small firms which are not able to do it on their own.
Many other ideas and methods have been suggested or come to mind. What has been lacking and what is lacking today is not ideas but the will on the part of the Government to take action. I 374 turn once again to Technology. I find it an excellent source of quotations. This is a quotation from the Minister himself in a speech which he made in Cambridge a few months ago:But if industry fails to meet the challenge—if when the bulge comes it is seen that enough young people are not getting the opportunity of skilled training—I foresee that there will be such a demand for Government action of one sort or another that the basic doctrine that the responsibility for training rests with industry may be subject to pressure that will be very hard to resist.In other words, after the "bulge" has come out on the labour market, after industry has failed, the Government may not be able to resist pressure to start doing something! What happens to the young people in the meantime? That is the question we are entitled to ask the Government tonight.
We on this side of the Committee and, we believe, a growing number of people in the country, are sick and tired of the Government's complacent approach to this matter. Time is very short. Two months from now the first wave of the "bulge" will begin to leave school and come on to the labour market. If we fail in this matter we shall pay the price—an incalculable price—in terms of the real standard of living of this country for years to come and in terms of the frustration of the hopes and aspirations of hundreds and thousands of our young people.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Peter Thomas)
This has been a stimulating, useful and, at times, a lively debate, and I should certainly like to thank all hon. Members who have taken part in it. I hope that I may not be instrumental in doing the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) a disfavour when I say that I thought that his speech was absolutely admirable. I am sure that he will not expect me to agree wholeheartedly with its full content—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not."]—but I thought that it was a major Parliamentary speech, and I congratulate him most sincerely on it.
I hope that our discussion today will help to promote the interest of a wider public, as I am sure many of the activities taking place this week under the auspices of the Commonwealth Technical Training Week will do. An interested and 375 informed public opinion is essential to the solution of this problem.
Before I refer to some of the points that have been made today I should like to join in the congratulations that have been given to the two maiden speakers. I quite agree that both speeches were admirable, and of a very high standard, indeed. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson). They both made extremely well-informed speeches, and it is quite clear that they know their subject well.
In the course of this debate I was interested to notice that very few hon. Members, when discussing this immediate problem of the bulge, talked about it as an employment problem. In our last debate a year ago a considerable amount of time was taken up with that aspect. Apart from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) and, to a certain extent, the hon. Member for East Ham, North—who said that, without being alarmist we should be alert to the problem of employment—no one else referred to the difficulties of employment.
I think that compared with last year and the year before, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic about employment prospects in most areas for the increasing number of school leavers this year and next. Of course, as my right hon. Friend said, these prospects are not equally good in all parts, but although the less buoyant employment areas—mainly in Scotland, Wales and the North-East—still lag behind, there has been a marked and welcome improvement. School leavers in these less fortunate areas have so far found employment only a little less quickly than have those in the rest of the country, where the situation has been remarkably good.
In Scotland, Wales and the Northern Region, just over 90 per cent. of those who left school at Christmas, 1960, found work in a month, compared with just under 95 per cent. for the country as a whole and, of this year's Easter school leavers, 98 per cent. of those in Scotland, Wales and the Northern Region were in work by the middle of this month, compared with 99 per cent. for the country as a whole.
376 Employment prospects for young people are to a large extent dependent on the general employment situation. As hon. Members know, the most recent national unemployment count of all-age workers—taken on 15th May—is 1.3 per cent. of the insured population. Apart from July of last year, this is the lowest percentage reached since the early autumn of 1957. There is a real demand for labour generally and, as my right hon. Friend said, for young workers it is particularly high.
The hon. Member for Paisley referred to the problems in his constituency. In Paisley, there were 300 Easter school leavers, and I am happy to say that none of them is at present unemployed. As he knows, in his area the bulge is slightly smaller than the average. If this demand continues, the fears expressed of an employment problem for the extra school leavers in the bulge period should, happily, not be realised.
The hon. Member for East Ham, North said that the position would be different if a recession occurred. Of course, if a recession occurred it would be much more difficult, but our experience is that the people who are least vulnerable in a recession are the school leavers. During the 1958–59 recession, when there was a "bulge" and when, as the hon. Gentleman mentioned, a considerable number of people were unemployed, the school leavers went into work only just a little less quickly; it took only a little longer for them to get into work.
I think that we all agree that, quite obviously, the problem is the problem of training, and I should like to think of it, as other people have said, as an opportunity presented to us during the bulge period. During the debate, there has been broad agreement on both sides of our objective. We want more and better training for our young people, both for their own sakes and for the good of industry, on which our economic viability depends. As the hon. Member for East Ham, North said, we are all concerned about this matter, and the difference between us, which, rather interestingly, is not one confined by party boundaries, is how we can best reach this objective. The hon. Member for Gower (Mr. I. Davies) said that the nub of the whole question is who is responsible for training in industry. The 377 hon. Member for East Ham, North also said that the position, as he saw it, was that the Government have a responsibility and cannot abdicate from it. That is the central point around which this debate has resolved.
My right hon. Friend dealt with this matter at some length when he opened the debate. As hon. Members know, we have the Report of the Carr Committee, consisting of both sides of industry, and the Crowther Report, and both of them come to the conclusion that the main responsibility must rest with industry, and that is the view we have adopted. I quite agree that this is something about which we do not say our minds are inflexible. We do not say that we must not examine any alternatives, and I assure the Committee that the examination of many alternatives is continually going on; but on the present situation that is where we stand.
I will not take up the time of the Committee with a detailed re-statement of what my right hon. Friend said, but it may be useful if I remind the Committee of a distinction, which I think is fundamental, and which, it appears to me, one or two hon. Members did not appreciate during the debate. Preparation for many jobs is a dual process, to which the educational system and employment each bring their distinctive contributions. On the educational side, there is a wide variety of courses, which are largely, and in some cases exclusively, vocational in content, such as university degree courses in engineering, the Diploma of Technology, or the City and Guilds and National Certificate courses at technical colleges.
On the other side, we have training imparted in the course of employment. Unfortunately, and I agree about this, training at work is often more unsystematic and haphazard than it ought to be, but it is none the less a vital and indispensable part of the whole process. It nearly always includes a considerable element of learning from actual experience on the job in industrial conditions, and it is this side of training which in our view must be left in industry's hands. I think this distinction is sometimes overlooked.
The educational and industrial contributions are both necessary, complementary and closely related phases of the total training process. They are not 378 complete, self-contained and competing methods of training. In recent years, a massive national investment has gone into the expansion of our facilities for technical education. This is a record of which we can be proud, and I think we can be confident that the educational system is equipped to make a real contribution to the expansion of training.
The key to the situation, however, particularly at the craft level, lies in the willingness of employers and unions to increase the intake of apprentices. The hon. Member for East Ham, North referred to the persistent shortage of skilled workers which has impeded the growth of the economy over the last twenty years. These shortages are striking evidence that in the past industry has skimped its investment in this field, but the bulge is a once-for-all opportunity of making up some of the lost ground. The figures which my right hon. Friend quoted show that, quantitatively at any rate, over the past two years there has been a growing response from industry. It is only fair to recognise that industry's performance during this period reflects a definite and welcome change in attitude Which deserves every encouragement.
It is quite clear and quite true that we must look to industry to provide an even bigger increase this year and next, but I could certainly not support the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) who said so emphatically that industry had failed to meet the challenge of the bulge in 1961. The figures for 1961 are not with us, but there are indications of an improvement. Certainly, there was a welcome improvement in 1960 in both percentage and numbers.
A point which has been put by the official spokesmen and by most spokesmen from the Opposition benches is that over the peak years of the "bulge" the Government should intervene more actively. My right hon. Friend dealt with the question of the scheme which operates in France and which has been mentioned by many hon. Members, and I am sure that the Committee would not wish me to enlarge further on what he said. Many suggestions have been canvassed and they do not all coincide. It was interesting that on a subject like this, which is not a party matter, many of the speeches on the Opposition benches did not coincide. That indicates the anxiety felt about this matter, 379 in that people are thinking all the time in terms of what more can be done and we welcome the ideas which are presented.
The real question is whether we are to have a change during the period of the bulge to meet the problem and the challenge of the bulge. One comment, not made in the charming fashion which we normally expect from her, was made by the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) who supported the suggestion made in the Report on Technical Education in Wales by the Central Advisory Committee for Education in Wales. The hon. Lady referred to the passage in Technology, which, she will admit, is not a wholly unbiased paper, which described my speech—
§ Mrs. White
I do not know why the hon. Gentleman says that it is not unbiased. I did not think that it had a bias against the Government.
§ Mr. Thomas
Not against the Government, but it always strongly advocates that the whole of this matter should be within the education system and part of it. The hon. Lady quoted its comment on my speech in the Welsh Grand Committee when it said that I was complacent in that I said—
§ Mr. Thomas
—and inept—that one could not expect this scheme to meet the challenge of the "bulge" because the "bulge" was a short-term problem and this was a long-term solution.
I would not consider the hon. Lady to be anything but efficient and I am surprised that she should have said that, because if she had read the last paragraph on page 52 of the Report she would have seen that is says:The policy of establishing a national craft apprenticeship system, were it to be realised, must at present be regarded as a long-term one…That was the whole point of my speech in the Welsh Grand Committee and it is the whole point of my speech today.
The proposals put forward in the Report are very interesting but, as the Council recognised, they present considerable difficulties and could not be introduced in the short term. One would have to have the complete co-operation of both sides of industry, and there 380 would be involved a tremendous change in the present system, a radical change in every way, as the hon. Lady will appreciate. I said before that no matter whether such changes may be desirable in the future, for the time being the principle that the main responsibility for providing industrial training lies with industry, as endorsed by the Carr and Crowther Reports, must remain the basis of Government policy. I said that it was important that proposals should not have the effect of diverting attention from the immediate future and from the urgent need for industry to expand its training opportunities to keep pace with the school-leaving "bulge".
On practical grounds alone there is no alternative but to seek this within the framework of the present system. I said that it was important to stress the qualification made in the Report that these changes are long-term and would take effect only in the long term. Therefore, the Government's position is perfectly clear. It would be not only inopportune but disastrous if industry were to reduce its efforts because it felt that the Government would step in and take over training in the foreseeable future.
§ Mrs. White
The whole point of the criticism, in Technology, of the Minister's approach was that the argument that we cannot do the thing completely in the long term has been used as an excuse for not starting it at all.
§ Mr. Thomas
I thought that I had made my point clear. If one started on a scheme like this, when we are facing the bulge, industry would reduce its efforts because it felt that the Government would step in in the foreseeable future.
Another point mentioned by several hon. Members concerns the establishment of a national apprenticeship council. Most industries have their industrial and local machinery, and I suggest that those hon. Members who have influence in industry should try to get the existing machinery to work. To set up a large body with powers exceeding those of existing machinery would probably meet with considerable objections from industry. I can think of many trade unionists who would object to the establishment of an overall supervisory body with powers exceeding those 381 of existing national machinery for apprenticeships in industry.
Another interesting suggestion is that training should be integrated into the education system. This suggestion was put forward by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) and, by implication, by the hon. Member for Flint, East, although an opposite view was expressed by the hon. Member for Newton. The suggestion was that training should be integrated into the educational system, presumably as a responsibility of the Education Department. It is clear that we can expect education to play a growing part in industrial training. The greater the groundwork of theoretical knowledge and the greater the education required for particular jobs, the stronger the case for making it part of the educational process. But I suggest that this does not mean that industrial training can be regarded, in the foreseeable future, as lying wholly or even mainly in the educational system. As I stressed earlier, an important and integral part of industrial training, particularly at the craft and lower levels, consists of practical experience of the tempo and conditions of industrial life.
The hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh), who intervened in the speech of the hon. Member for Cardiff, West, would accept that. Some of the more uncommon skills can be taught only in the firms using them. Even when the more usual skills are called for, firms often require training with a bias towards their own methods and processes, which it would be difficult to impart, except actually on the job in the firms concerned. This part of the industrial training process is clearly better provided at the workbench than in the lecture room, and it is also economically advantageous because it involves productive work.
It has surprised me that many hon. Members opposite seem to have ignored the industrial relations side of training. Apprenticeships cannot be regarded merely as a matter of imparting instruction and acquiring experience. The conditions under which apprenticeship training is given, the relationship between the apprentices and the skilled men's rates, the numbers trained, the scope of training and the type of work 382 to which it gives access, are bound to be matters of joint concern to unions and employers.
They are, in a very real sense, industrial relations matters. As far as I can remember, hardly a word was said by hon. Members opposite on this extremely important aspect of the subject.
Reference has been made to the Industrial Training Council. As I believe the hon. Member for East Ham, North said, that Council, within the limits of its powers of persuasion, which are the only powers it has, has done a good job, and we are grateful for the work that it has done. It is, of course, from the point of view of influence an extremely powerful body. It has recently set up Regional committees and the chairman and members of these committees are men of stature and of great quality and influence in industry. I feel sure they will do great work in their local areas.
The hon. Gentleman referred to training development officers, and I should like to correct the impression that the twelve posts which have been authorised, ten of which have so far been filled, with assistance from the Government's grant in aid, represents the limit of the efforts which industry is making to develop training schemes for the bulge. The grant in aid was intended to assist with the appointment of training development officers in industries which, without assistance, would have found it difficult to establish or to develop central training services. Several larger industries have established their own central training services on their own initiative. Nor should we overlook the fact that there is an increasing number of training officers employed by individual firms, although I agree that their work is of a somewhat different nature.
Many people have expressed concern about the quality and content of training. I agree that there is great need to pay more attention to this. We could all quote firms, and most hon. Members who spoke did so, whose training arrangements are exemplary. I certainly agree with the hon. Member who said that the best firms in this country have training arrangements which are second to none. I have been round the country and have been most impressed by some of 383 the training arrangements which exist at present. But there is room for considerable improvement in the attention given to systematic training within firms and the provision made by firms for trainees to acquire the associated technical education.
A number of hon. Members referred to day release, and this is rightly regarded as an extremely important matter. The apprenticeship schemes which exist contain provisions for day release, and the Industrial Training Council has come out firmly in favour of day release for all young workers. But it is not yet widely enough practised by employers. I agree with the hon. Member for Maryhill that the Scottish figures are very disappointing. It is hopelessly out-of-date for employers to regard day release as a day's work lost. Day release, in common with other sides of the training process, is a thoroughly worth-while investment. In many cases the knowledge acquired at day release classes adds directly to the young worker's adaptability and understanding of his work in the factory. But even where its direct vocational usefulness is less marked, regular day-time study can help to consolidate habits of study and inquiry which will widen the young worker's horizons and abilities and make him not only a better citizen but a better employee.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, West said that he thought day release was out of date and advocated block release; this is something which for certain training courses is admirable. But I agree with the hon. Member for Greenwich that day release is what is required in the case of the craft and lower apprentices.
Hon. Members have talked about group apprenticeships, and there is no doubt that we all share the disappointment that was expressed that more progress has not been made in organising these schemes. I think it right to say that the contribution they can make to the total numbers entering apprenticeship cannot be very great and the organisation of such schemes in the very nature of the case is a slow business.
A lot of hard work and detailed planning is necessary to get each scheme going. Even then, the number of 384 apprentices covered by any one scheme is not large. In tackling the urgent numerical problem of the bulge years it was right to devote attention to increasing the number of apprentices taken on in the ordinary way by firms, rather than by group schemes. It is important, nevertheless, that more should be done on group apprenticeship. I certainly endorse what was said about the group apprenticeship scheme in Treforest, and I congratulate all the people engaged in that and similar schemes. Through such schemes the training potential of small engineering firms can be tapped in a way not otherwise practicable. There are so many such firms, and our need for skilled men is of such importance, that we cannot afford to neglect this extra source of supply.
Criticism has been made that the Government Training Centre scheme is only a demonstration, and that it does not make a great numerical contribution. I suggest that those who look for facilities of that sort should be able to find them in the technical colleges, because it is intended that those facilities should be there to help firms who want them.
Many points have been raised in the debate, one in particular being the five-year age limit, and the flexibility of training schemes. I endorse everything which has been said. These, of course, are matters for negotiation between both sides, but we in the Government would welcome them looking at these matters.
My hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) made a point when he said that it was all very well for us when thinking in terms of persuading industry to do something about apprentices to look at both sides of industry all the time. We have to get down and look at the young people. We have to persuade the young people that apprenticeships are worth while. The points made about differentials are extremely important from that point of view.
A lot has been said about the future. The hon. Member for Newton said that we could not afford to neglect the fact that a new scientific revolution was with us. The average working life of the young people now entering employment will last into the 21st century.
385 The hon. Member for East Ham, North talked about changes, but the changes which will take place are those which few of us would dare to forecast. We can today see these changes taking place, but I agree with him that all we can see from the vantage point of today indicates that we will need then as much skill as we need today.
The skill will be different. There will possibly be a declining demand in future for manual skills. We can expect that more will be asked of the workers in terms of versatility, initiative and responsibility. There will almost certainly be
§ wider scope for supervisory, technical, and managerial ability.
§ We have had an interesting and important debate. We are grateful for the views that have been expressed, and we will study the opinions which have been put forward.
§ Question put:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 150, Noes 208.387
|Division No. 180.]||AYES||[9.58 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Houghton, Douglas||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Probert, Arthur|
|Awbery, Stan||Hunter, A. E.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Baird, John||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Randall, Harry|
|Benson, Sir George||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rankin, John|
|Blyton, William||Janner, Sir Barnett||Reid, William|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Boyden, James||Jeger, George||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Ross, William|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Kelley, Richard||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Kenyon, Clifford||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Chetwynd, George||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Small, William|
|Cliffe, Michael||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Collick, Percy||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Snow, Julian|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Cronin, John||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lipton, Marcus||Stonehouse, John|
|Darling, George||Loughlin, Charles||Stones, William|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||MacColl, James||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||McInnes, James||Sylvester, George|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McKay, John (Wallsond)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Deer, George||McLeavy, Frank||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Delargy, Hugh||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Diamond, John||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Dodds, Norman||Manuel, A. C.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Marquand. Rt. Hon. H. A.||Thornton, Ernest|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Marsh, Richard||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Evans, Albert||Mason, Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Finch, Harold||Mellish, R. J.||Warbey, William|
|Fitch, Alan||Mitchison, G. R.||Weitzman, David|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Monslow Walter||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morris, John||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Moyle, Arthur||Whitlock, William|
|Ginsburg, David||Neal, Harold||Wigg, George|
|Gourlay, Harry||Oswald, Thomas||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Grey, Charles||Owen, Will||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Willey, Frederick|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Pargiter, G. A.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hannan, William||Parker, John||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Pavitt, Laurence||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Woof, Robert|
|Healey, Denis||Peart, Frederick||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pentland, Norman|
|Hilton, A. V.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Holman, Percy||Prentice, R. E.||Mr. Lawson and|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Barter, John||Bingham, R. M.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bell, Ronald||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel|
|Allason, James||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Bishop, F. P.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Black, Sir Cyril|
|Barber, Anthony||Bidgood, John C.||Bossom, Clive|
|Barlow, Sir John||Biggs-Davison, John||Bourne-Arton, A.|
|Box, Donald||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Peel, John|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Percival, Ian|
|Brewis, John||Hendry, Forbes||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hiley, Joseph||Pike Miss Mervyn|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Buck, Antony||Hocking, Philip N.||Pott, Percivall|
|Bullard, Denys||Holland, Philip||Pym, Francis|
|Burden, F. A.||Hollingworth, John||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hopkins, Alan||Ramsden, James|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Hornby, R. P.||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Rees, Hugh|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Renton, David|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Iremonger, T. L.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Jackson, John||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Collard, Richard||James, David||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Cooke, Robert||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Shepherd, William|
|Cooper, A. E.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Smithers, Peter|
|Costain, A. P.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Coulson, J. M.||Kimball, Marcus||Speir, Rupert|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Lambton, Viscount||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Langford-Holt, J.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Cunningham, Knox||Leavey, J. A.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Leburn, Gilmour||Talbot, John E.|
|d'Avigdor-Goidsmid, Sir Henry||Lilley, F. J. P.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lindsay, Martin||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Doughty, Charles||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Temple, John M.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Litchfield, Capt. John||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|du Cann, Edward||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Duthie, Sir William||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Emery, Peter||McAdden, Stephen||Turner, Colin|
|Errington, Sir Eric||MacArthur, Ian||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||McLaren, Martin||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Fisher, Nigel||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Wade, Donald|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McMaster, Stanley R.||Walder, David|
|Foster, John||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Walker, Peter|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Maddan, Martin||Wall, Patrick|
|Freeth, Denzil||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Gammans, Lady||Marten, Neil||Watts, James|
|Gardner, Edward||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Webster, David|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mawby, Ray||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Whitelaw, William|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Montgomery, Fergus||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Goodhew, Victor||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gough, Frederick||Morgan, William||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Gower, Raymond||Morrison, John||Wise, A. R.|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Green, Alan||Noble, Michael||Worsley, Marcus|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Page, John (Harrow, West)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Mr. Finlay.|
|Hastings, Stephen||Partridge, E.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.