HC Deb 30 April 1970 vol 800 cc1431-2
6. Mr Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many employees are receiving training in industries covered by industrial training boards at the latest convenient date and each year since 1964; what action has been taken by boards to increase the proportion of trained women, to extend the range of jobs in which they are trained, and increase their opportunities to train for promotion; and what encouragement the Central Training Council has given them to use the grant scheme therefor.

17. Mr. Barnes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many employees are currently undergoing industrial training; and how this figure compares with the figure in 1964.

Mrs. Castle

Separate information about numbers in training in industries covered by industrial training boards is not available. My Department's new earnings survey, however, indicated that in September, 1968 nearly 1,400,000 persons were receiving training in all industries and services, including over 500,000 apprentices. As this is a new survey, corresponding figures are not available for earlier years, but the number of employees receiving training in manufacturing industries increased by about 15 per cent. between 1964 and 1968.

In promoting and improving training in their industries, the training boards pay full regard to the needs of women, and the Central Training Council encourage them to do so on equal terms with men.

Mr. Roberts

Will my right hon. Friend agree that, in spite of her well-known interest in equality for women, when it comes to training women are still second-rate citizens? Will she ask the Central Training Council to look not only at the industries where women are conventionally employed, where there are great difficulties, but also at the engineering industry, in which women are being employed in increasing numbers?

Mrs. Castle

I am anxious to do everything possible to stimulate the training of women, and the Equal Pay Bill made it clear that in giving women equality of terms and conditions we were legislating for them to get equal opportunity for training where this was part of the contract of any male employee. There is no need for us to press the Engineering Industry Training Board to train more women. The board has made it clear in all its recommendations that no distinction is drawn between the sexes, and goes on to say: Indeed the board would hope that girls will in future become more and more interested in engineering careers at all levels. The board would welcome that. It is for the women to respond.

Mr. Barnes

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the figures she has announced represent an impressive advance since 1964? As a result of this policy, are not many of those who are undergoing training greatly improving their skills to the benefit of themselves, their families and the country as a whole?

Mrs. Castle

Yes, I agree with my hon. Friend. Not only has there been this massive increase in the quantity of training, but the quality of training is improving all the time, and this is what we want.