HC Deb 04 December 1962 vol 668 cc1129-30
24. Mr. Hannan

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what steps he is taking to improve the training of development engineers.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

The syllabus for training engineers at universities and colleges of advanced technology is not a matter for which my noble Friend is responsible. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research makes awards, however, for postgraduate training in engineering to suitably qualified candidates.

Mr. Hannan

But what steps does the hon. Gentleman's department take to draw the attention of his right hon. Friend to this problem? Is he aware that while the standard of scientific research in Britain is very high, as is technical skill in the factories, the difficulty lies in bringing the discovery from the research stage to the factory floor, which requires development engineers, and since there is a shortage of such engineers and they have a lower status, can the hon. Gentleman draw the attention of his right hon. Friend to this?

Mr. Freeth

At the present time the D.S.I.R. has no less than 663 current awards going in engineering and metallurgy, and also 10 post-doctoral awards in engineering. I do not believe that there is any lack of knowledge in universities, C.A.T.S., or industry, of the facilities available.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

Does not my hon. Friend agree that experience after being trained to be an engineer is by far the best way of training a development engineer?

Mr. Freeth

This is obviously a very important factor.