HC Deb 22 July 1968 vol 769 cc29-30
41. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Technology what plans he has to assist co-operation between industry and higher educational establishments in order to ensure that the professionally qualified recruits in industry will normally be graduates.

Mr. Benn

An increasing proportion of chartered engineers in industry are graduates and I am supporting the requirements of the Council of Engineering Institutions that after 1973 all candidates will be of degree standard.

Mr. Rankin

Is not the present tendency for the numbers of those who leave school at 15 and 16 to increase, and does it not seem that in the near future industry at graduate level and my right hon. Friend's Department may be starved of these recruits? What steps is he taking to fend off that tendency?

Mr. Benn

I am well aware, as everyone who has studied this is, that the shift away from the sciences in the schools and the shift from industry of university graduates poses potential dangers for industries. But the Science Research Council this year, by its policy of post- graduate awards, is hoping to produce far more people for industry, and by this means and a number of other means we are hoping to ensure that the demand is met.

Mr. David Price

Will the right hon. Gentleman in those considerations not underestimate the importance of the alternative ladder to chartered engineer status—that is, coming up through the works on O.N.C. and H.N.C.? Would he not agree that, however mature we are in our degree examination, there must always be the alternative route kept open to potential chartered engineers?

Mr. Benn

I think the point is very well understood by the C.E.I.

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