HC Deb 02 May 1972 vol 836 cc180-2
10. Mr. Roger White

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent the waiting list of 10,000 for Government training centres, while places remain unfilled, is due mainly to high demand in particular areas or for particular courses.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Occupancy of Government training centres is now close to maximum capacity and few places remain unfilled. Waiting lists for the more popular trades reflect the substantial increase in demand for training but these vary by region.

Mr. White

Will my hon. Friend say what is the occupancy rate of Government training centres and whether there is an increasing demand?

Mr. Smith

Yes, Sir. The average occupancy of Government training centres has increased from about 80 per cent. in July last year to over 90 per cent. at the present time. The demand for training has nearly doubled since last September, and this is a tribute to the efforts which the Government have made to publicise this scheme.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in South Shields, an area of heavy unemployment, many people are waiting to take up courses in Government training centres and often have to wait for nine months or a year before they can do so?

Mr. Smith

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern. It is our aim to reduce the waiting period wherever possible, but certain trades are particularly popular. The document "Training for the Future" envisages expansion to 100,000 trainees a year.

11. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if a suitable site has now been acquired for the proposed new Government training centre in South Monmouthshire.

Mr. Dudley Smith

I am afraid that a suitable site has not yet been acquired.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister realise that in South Monmouthshire several thousands are unemployed and many more face redundancy, and that there is an urgent need to restore faith? Will he bear in mind the report of the Engineering Industry Training Board which was presented to the Secretary of State last year and which points out that there was a 20 per cent. cut back in training in the engineering industry last winter? Will he get a move on urgently?

Mr. Smith

Yes, Sir. There is no reluctance on our part. We are pursuing our efforts vigorously, but the right site has to be obtained and this cannot be done overnight. Wales has the second highest number in the country of Gov- ernment training centre places per head of the population, but we need a training centre in the hon. Gentleman's area.

Forward to