§ 8. Mr. Pardoe
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what provisions and estimates his Department has made for the demands that United Kingdom oil and gas development will 1279 make upon higher education establishments for which he is responsible over the next 10 years.
§ Mr. Gerry Fowler
Existing and proposed provision for courses in higher education relevant to oil and gas development is listed in a working party report on "Education and Training for Offshore Development". I am sending the hon. Member a copy. In consequence of one of the report's recommendations, the University Grants Committee has made special additional grants to three universities for the development of postgraduate courses in petroleum engineering and geology.
§ Mr. Pardoe
I thank the Minister for that reply and for the document which he intends to send me. Is he aware that the availability of places in further education for the study of oil and gas technology falls far short of the forecasts for qualified technologists who will be needed if the North Sea oil and gas industry develops? Is he now satisfied that his new proposal and the proposals of the University Grants Committee will fill the gap?
§ Mr. Fowler
No, Sir. I share the hon. Gentleman's anxiety that the education system should respond quickly to the needs of the oil and gas industry and I encourage it to do so. The Petroleum Industry Training Board is making a projection of manpower requirements for the future and my Department is closely associated with these developments.