HC Deb 13 March 1963 vol 673 cc1329-32
5. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Labour what is the annual average cost per pupil place in his Department's training centres; and what he estimates will be the capital cost per pupil place in providing new centres.

Mr. Hare

The average annual running cost of the centres is at present approximately £385 per place excluding, and £820 per place including, the cost of the allowances, fares, etc. of trainees. The capital cost of providing new centres varies greatly according to location, availability of premises and the trades to be taught, and it is impracticable to make a general estimate.

Miss Quennell

In view of the recently announced expansion of training centres, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the pattern of workshop specification which the Minister of Education uses when planning technical colleges, which perform very much the same sort of work?

Mr. Hare

I can assure my hon. Friend that I keep in close touch with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education.

Mr. R. W. Elliott

Does my hon. Friend agree that especially in areas where existent industries are contracting there will be a great need for skilled labour and that the economy, as it expands, will demand more skilled labour? Will my right hon. Friend try to ensure that there is a rapid extension of training in Government centres?

Mr. Hare

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I am sure that there will be a need for an extension of training in Government centres, and I can assure both him and the House that I have the matter very much in mind.

6. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Labour what recognised syllabus/ curriculum is pursued by industrial trainees in his Department's training centres; and what is the wastage figure.

Mr. Hare

Each of the 38 training trades has its own detailed syllabus prepared by my specialist technical stall in consultation with both sides of industry.

Wastage was 22.7 per cent. in 1962, over a third being on grounds of ill health, mainly among disabled trainees.

Miss Quennell

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is no hard and fast line between technical education and industrial training, and that when he frames his proposals for legislation, as he shortly must do, a great deal of frustration, expense and vexation would be avoided if he could follow the established practice of the release of apprentices to the technical colleges, which is running very satisfactorily?

Mr. Hare

I do not think that there are any simple answers to what my hon. Friend has in mind. She will, of course, have read the White Paper, which makes it quite clear that I am discussing these proposals, not only with both sides of industry, but with my other colleagues in the Government, of whom my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education is a very important one.

14. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Labour how many Ministry of Labour training centres exist; where they are situated; what is the capacity of the training centre in the Merseyside area; and how many young people from St. Helens, Lancashire, attend it.

Mr. Hare

There are 13 Government training centres, situated at Newcastle, Leeds, Letchworth, Slough, Enfield, Perivale, Croydon, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leicester, Liverpool and Glasgow. Two hundred and ninety-four places, including 24 for apprentices, are available at the Liverpool centre. One young person from St. Helens attends that centre.

Mr. Spriggs

I understand that the Minister said that one young person from St. Helens is attending the Liverpool training centre. What are we to do about the other 422 boys and girls who are receiving no training? Is the Minister aware that out of the total of almost 3,000 unemployed in St. Helens, the great bulk are unskilled people? If these youngsters are not given a chance to train for a trade, they, too, will join the ranks of the unemployed when the unskilled worker is least wanted. What is the right hon. Gentleman doing through his Department to provide proper training schemes for the unemployed boys and girls?

Mr. Hare

As I have told the House, I am considering proposals for extending training facilities. Certainly, the needs of St. Helens will be considered together with the Liverpool area as a whole. I know that the journey is 12 miles, but we must try to locate these places to serve the greatest possible area and for the greatest convenience of people in the area.

Mr. K. Lewis

In view of the urgency of industrial training, on which both sides of the House are agreed, will my right hon. Friend say whether he has any specific plans for expansion for the future generally?

Mr. Hare

Yes. I have said that I am considering a programme for further expansion of training facilities. I will announce it when I have the plans ready.

Mr. Fernyhough

Can the Minister give an assurance that when these people have been retrained, they will be provided with employment?

Mr. Hare

I am hopeful that the employment situation will improve.