HC Deb 21 October 1971 vol 823 cc891-2
35. Mrs. Doris Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many school-leavers have accepted apprenticeships offered by the Engineering Industry Training Board.

Mr. Bryan

I understand that up to this week 2,039 awards offered by the board for first year off-the-job engineering apprentice training have been accepted.

Mrs. Fisher

Does the Minister accept that this is a fine example by the Engineering Industry Training Board in offering apprenticeships, in view of the fact that many large firms and organisations in the City of Birmingham are closing down their apprenticeship schemes, and that we shall need many more Government-sponsored industrial training boards to put forward training schemes if industry itself is not taking the lead?

Mr. Bryan

This is a fine example of co-operation between the Government and the training board considering that it was apparent that the number of apprenticeships would be about 5,000 below that of last year. By discussion between the two sides they got this scheme under way. It is a very satisfactory way of giving young men apprenticeship training which they would otherwise not have had.

Mr. Heffer

We welcome any development towards industrial training for young engineering apprentices, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that we in the City of Liverpool have firms like Lucas which have closed down apprenticeship schemes? Is not that regrettable, in view of the fact that we need full development of apprenticeship schemes for our young people?

Mr. Bryan

My view, and that of my right hon. Friend, is that it is regrettable, but I think that the hon. Member will acknowledge that months ago my right hon. Friend was pressing employers to maintain their numbers of apprentices as much as they could. Other industries besides engineering are going through the same process. The total number of places is about 3,800.