HC Deb 16 July 1979 vol 970 cc998-1000
2. Mr. Best

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what retraining facilities presently exist in Wales for persons unemployed or who need to be redeployed; and if he will ensure that greater emphasis is given to retraining in the future.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Training is primarily the responsibility of industry; but the training opportunities scheme, which is operated by the Manpower Services Commission, also provides for training of young people and adults in skill-centres, colleges and firms throughout Wales. Much of this assistance goes to retraining persons who have lost their jobs.

Mr. Best

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in my constituency of Anglesey about half the unemployed are unskilled? Is he aware that the nearest Training Services Agency skillcentre is at Wrexham? Is he also aware that the Manpower Services Commission proposed bringing a mini-skillcentre to Bangor, which would have been of direct benefit to my constituents, and will he do everything in his power to see that that proposal is safeguarded?

Mr. Edwards

I am aware of the importance that is attached to the project for the Gwynedd technical college which is currently under review by the Commission. I am seeing the chairman of the Commission tomorrow and intend to draw to his attention the importance that is attached to this project.

Mr. Alan Williams

Will the Secretary of State bear in mind that, as a result of a decision by the Department of Industry, 6,000 workers in the Shotton area will find that their skills will be of no use to them? What programme does he have in mind for crash retraining of these workers?

Mr. Edwards

That is another of the questions that I intend to discuss tomorrow with the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission. I share the concern of the right hon. Gentleman about the problems that will arise at Shotton, and I am aware of the need to provide adequate training facilities.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Can the Secretary of State give a categorical assurance to the House that none of the training programmes at present in hand by the Manpower Services Commission in Wales, including those funded and located in further education colleges, will be reduced under his regime?

Mr. Edwards

How it operates is the responsibility of the Manpower Services Commission. However, any cuts that have been made have been in very low occupancy and duplicated courses. The training of technicians in skills which are in short supply has been safeguarded, and the Commission expects to train more people this year than it did last year.

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