HC Deb 30 July 1962 vol 664 cc30-1
51. Mr. Montgomery

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the concern felt in Newcastle-upon-Tyne over the difficulties of employment for school leavers; and what steps his Department is taking to remedy this situation.

Mr. Whitelaw

At mid-July all but 62 of the 1,209 Easter school leavers in the area had entered employment. The Youth Employment Service is doing all it can to help the young people to find suitable employment.

Mr. Montgomery

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is fully aware that the new school leavers will now be on the labour market and that in the debate last week his right hon. Friend said that he was having talks with the unions to provide apprenticeships for the people about whom we are concerned here? Can my hon. Friend please say whether anything further has happened about this?

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes, Sir. As was announced in the debate on employment prospects in the North-East, my right hon. Friend has had some discussions on these matters which are being further considered. We welcome very much anything that is done to increase the number of apprenticeships in this area. It is good to know that there has been some success there. In the first six months of this year 43.2 per cent. of boys entering employment in the Newcastle area obtained apprenticeships compared with 34 per cent. in the country as a whole, so the North-East is doing pretty well.

Mr. Prentice

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the last two Questions, and some others which will probably not be reached, represent a considerable anxiety about school leavers this summer? Is he aware that this represents about 30 par cent. more school leavers than a year ago? As the economy as a whole is more sluggish, and manufacturers are expressing pessimism about their prospects, what are the Government, and the hon. Gentleman's Department in particular, doing to provide bigger scope of opportunity for this large number of school leavers?

Mr. Whitelaw

I welcome what the hon. Gentleman says, because it stresses the great importance of increasing the number of apprenticeships which can be offered by industry, particularly this year, when we have what is known as the bulge in school leavers upon us.

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