HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 cc939-40
21. Mr. Ronald Bell

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he will take to procure the removal of maximum age limits imposed by trade unions for entry into apprenticeship.

Mr. Gunter

The age of entry to apprenticeship is normally fixed by agreement between employers' associations and trade unions. Many apprenticeship schemes make some provision for late entrants. My Department has consistently urged that rigid age limits should be avoided, and I am glad to say that there is evidence of a more flexible attitude on both sides of industry on this subject.

Mr. Bell

Does the Minister agree that some wage agreements do not make provision for late entry, and would he explicitly say that that is a very bad thing, which prevents someone later in life starting in that skill and strikes particularly, of course, at the Service man when he comes out of the Forces? Will he not leave this to both sides of industry, but take some initiative himself?

Mr. Gunter

I would agree that the greatest degree of flexibility is desirable. That is why the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) made it one of the provisions of the industrial training boards that they should make recommendations as to the age of entry into training. I am hoping that the boards, almost as a matter of priority, will give us their forward-looking views on this matter.