HC Deb 19 October 1976 vol 917 cc1107-8
17. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration he has given to making use of unemployed teachers and unused or under-utilised premises such as some colleges of education or further education for the purpose of providing training and retraining facilities, particularly for school leavers and older workers.

Mr. Golding

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that considerable use is already being made of accommodation in colleges of further education for training under the Training Opportunities Scheme, and that further expansion in this field is expected. The use of such facilities is being further encouraged by the programme of grants and awards in support of additional training by industry, which is being operated jointly by the Training Services Agency and industrial training boards. The possibility of using vacant colleges of education premises will be kept under review. Suitably qualified unemployed teachers can be considered for vocational training posts within the Training Services Agency.

Mr. Miller

I accept that use is made of colleges of education by the Manpower Services Commission, but is the hon. Gentleman satisfied with the co-operation between his Department and the Department of Education and Science in training matters, especially the proposal of the Training Services Agency to build a new training centre at Redditch?

Mr. Golding

I can give the assurance that there is close co-operation between the DES and my Department. We are satisfied that it is valuable to provide the centre to which reference has been made.

Mr. Hooson

As so many of our young people are now unemployed, and in view of the present circumstances of the country, is this not a situation calling for emergency action and much more cooperation between the hon. Gentleman's Department and the Department of Education and Science?

Mr. Golding

There has been close co-operation between my Department and the Department of Education and Science, and, indeed, the Manpower Services Commission. We have now approved 145 job creation projects specifically for teachers, and 1,250 teachers are now employed on them, being engaged in organising play groups, educational theatres and the like.

Mr. Robert Hughes

But do not the Question and the Answer show that current Government policy of cutting public expenditure is running counter to the idea of my hon. Friend's Department for getting full employment?

Mr. Golding

The Government do not accept that point of view. We believe that it is in the long-term interests of employment that public expenditure growth should be cut.

Mr. Wigley

In view of the number of teachers now unemployed, will the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues consider advising local authorities to relax the restriction on grants so that they can undergo training courses for which grants may not otherwise be available?

Mr. Golding

The positive response of the DES to the shortage of jobs for teachers has been to discuss and to inquire into the possibility of retraining teachers for jobs in education where their skills are in short supply.