HC Deb 02 March 1972 vol 832 cc731-3
17. Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many employees will be retrained at Government training establishments in 1972 compared with 1971.

Mr. Bryan

It is estimated that about 20,000 trainees should complete courses at Government training centres in 1972, compared with 16,500 in 1971.

Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

What progress is being made in gaining further trade union acceptance of people who are trained in Government training centres? Does my hon. Friend intend to use the spare capacity in the Construction Industry Training Centre at Bircham Newton, which is in my constituency, for Government training purposes?

Mr. Bryan

In answer to the first question, it is difficult to measure the progress we are making in this direction but I can say that, in consultation with the trade union leaders, we are making progress. I visited Bircham Newton the day before yesterday and was most impressed by the facilities and staff available I am glad to say that my Department is negotiating with the C.I.T.B. to use places there for courses in limited skilled construction trades. This is part of the general programme for utilising spare capacity wherever it is available.

Mr. J. T. Price

Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that, although all efforts made by the Government to improve the Government industrial training schemes will receive my full support and encouragement, in view of the present Government's policies in other spheres of activity many of my constituents in Lancashire would have greater confidence in the scheme if, at the end of their training, they saw a reasonable prospect of being able to obtain gainful employment?

Mr. Bryan

The hon. Gentleman will find from the figures that the record of employment of those trained in G.T.C.s is extremely high, even at a time of high unemployment.

Mr. James Hill

In view of the massive effort which the building industry is being called upon to make, will my hon. Friend ensure that sufficient numbers of places in these training establishments are kept open to produce skilled bricklayers and carpenters who are so desperately needed?

Mr. Bryan

In the increased number of places which are being provided the accent is being placed on training for craftsmen in the building trade.

Mr. Prentice

The Minister said that there would be an increase in trainees from 16,500 to 20,000 this year. Although we welcome that expansion, however modest, does it not follow that successive Government statements, particularly the Prime Minister's speech in the debate on unemployment on 14th January, have grossly exaggerated the impact this would have on the 1 million unemployed in 1972?

Mr. Bryan

I do not think this exaggeration has been made at any time. The whole programme has been brought forward in a sober and well-judged way and we have in no way deceived the House. At the end of the day the right hon. Gentleman will agree that this is exactly what we have said it is—a massive increase in the country's training effort.

Forward to