§ 34. Mr. Prentice
asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the prospects for the summer school-leavers this year for apprenticeship and other forms of occupational training; and what special steps the Government will take to improve these prospects.
§ Mr. Hare
Provided employers pay proper regard to the needs of an expanding economy there should be no lack of apprenticeship and other training opportunities for summer school leavers. This year's change in school leaving dates, which we have brought to the notice of employers, makes it important that firms should, in their own interests, increase their apprenticeship intake this summer, as there will be far fewer leavers at Christmas than in previous years. They should also do this in order to be in a position to take maximum advantage from the new legislation on industrial training now being prepared to give effect to the proposals in the White Paper (Cmd. 1892) published last December.
§ Mr. Prentice
May I first of all welcome the Minister back after his illness and express the hope that he will have a speedy recovery?
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the situation is particularly serious in that in the first four months of this year there was a heavy drop in the intake of apprentices all over the country compared with last year, and does this not bode ill for the much larger number of school-leavers in the summer? Should there not be an additional campaign by the right hon. Gentleman, the Department and the Industrial Training Council in the next few months to overcome this trend?
§ Mr. Hare
Last week my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out that now the economy is expanding this is an excellent opportunity to improve the rather disappointing performance in the early part of the year. I myself, together with the chairman of the Industrial Training Council, am putting pressure, through the Youth Employment Service, on all employers and trade unions to take as vigorous action as possible to implement the need to provide these extra training facilities during the rest of the year.