HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 c13
21. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the need to retrain semi-skilled labour in skilled trades; what steps are being taken to this end; and whether he is obtaining the co-operation of the craft unions.

Mr. Thornton

I am well aware of the need to train unskilled and semi-skilled labour in skilled trades in which there are shortages. Indeed this is one of the main purposes of Government training centres, of which there are at present 30, with eight more opening this year and next. In general co-operation of the craft unions with our Department's vocational training scheme is good.

Mr. Shepherd

Will the hon. Gentleman say how many persons during the course of this year will be so retrained and accepted into semi-skilled and skilled employment?

Mr. Thornton

I am afraid that I could not give that information.

Mr. Howe

Is the Minister aware of the very serious allegation contained in the evidence of the Engineering Employers' Federation to the Royal Commission that his Ministry has decided not to continue the expansion of engineering training facilities at the Denton Training School because of the lack of co-operation from the craft unions in the Manchester area? Will he look into it and assure the House that his Ministry is not reacting in that way to obstructive attitudes of that kind?

Mr. Thornton

We will look into that. I would point out that, so far as engineering is concerned, 50 per cent. of places in all Government centres are now devoted to engineering.