HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 cc925-7
3. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Labour what discussions have taken place between his Department and representatives of the printing industry on apprenticeship and training.

Mr. Gunter

My predecessor had talks with both sides of the newspaper industry following the publication in 1962 of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Press; apprenticeship and training were amongst the subjects covered. In 1963 during the preparation and passage of the Industrial Training Bill my officers had discussions with both sides of the printing industry. I shall be giving consideration in due course to the question of implementing the Industrial Training Act in the printing industry.

Mr. Hamling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the printing industry covers a much wider field than newspapers? Is he aware that some people who are concerned with teaching apprentices in this industry are of the opinion that the present apprenticeship is completely old-fashioned?

Mr. Gunter

Indeed, that is why steps are being taken to try to bring both sides of industry together, both in the national newspaper part of the industry and also the other part of the industry where a review is now being made of the deficiencies of manpower.

Mr. Ronald Bell

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the newspaper industry plays very little part in apprenticeship and training and that it is the other part of the printing industry that undertakes that? Would the right hon. Gentleman say that the existing quota system is quite unrelated to the needs of the times, and will he take some early action to get rid of it?

Mr. Gunter

Yes, indeed. I would agree with the first part of that supplementary question and say that we are doing all we can.

Mr. Wilkins

Will my right hon. Friend get away from the idea that newspapers are the be-all and end-all of the printing industry? Is he aware that 13 unions are associated with the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation, that seven of them are craft unions and that most of them are studying their apprenticeship arrangements? May I suggest to my right hon. Friend that he might have a talk with the President of the National Graphical Association, who has some quite good ideas about the industry?

Mr. Gunter

Yes, I have already had it. As I have said, the general printing and provincial newspaper industries have agreed to make a joint study of manpower and I hope that the inquiry will pay some attention to training.