HC Deb 22 July 1980 vol 989 cc260-2
8 Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will instruct the Manpower Services Commission to make use of surplus places in training establishments for short courses of instruction for unemployed school leavers where such courses leads to the employment of such young persons; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Prior

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission—[Interruption.] May I continue, Mr. Speaker?

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that substantial use—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. I remind hon. Members that we must protect our parliamentary traditions. [Interruption.] In all circumstances we should protect our parliamentary traditions. The Minister should be heard.

Mr. Prior

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that substantial use is already made of surplus places in training establishments for short training courses under the youth opportunities programme. I hope that it will be possible to do more.

Mr. Dempsey

Does the Secretary of State realise that thousands of school leavers in Scotland who have never had a job are applying for short courses of instruction and are being turned down on the ground that the Manpower Services Commission does not have the resources to train them? Is the Secretary of State further aware that the evidence shows that 70 out of each 100 who are trained find jobs? Is it not about time that he ended this outrageous state of affairs by investing in the most important capital of all—human capital?

Mr. Prior

We have increased the youth opportunities programme this year by 50,000 places. If more needs to be done, we shall do more. The increase will involve a large element of training including, for most young people who are unable to get a job and therefore have one of the programmes available, at least one day a week in training in further education colleges or training establishments.


Will my right hon. Friend ensure that every effort is made by the Manpower Services Commission to ensure a 100 per cent. take-up of the expanding youth opportunities programme? Will he also ensure that the quality of the programme is improved, particularly in relation to work experience on employer's premises?

Mr. Prior

Yes. The Manpower Services Commission has learnt a great deal in the last two years about how to improve its schemes, their quality, and the length of time that young people are involved in them. It is aware of the need for the second guarantee, which is that people who are unemployed for a year or more have a chance to take part in a further scheme. We are looking to see whether there are other ways in which we can improve the schemes for young people, and whether we can improve the content of the schemes.

Mr. Woolmer

As nearly 2 million people are unemployed and the CBI has predicted that up to 3 million will be unemployed in the next two or three years, is it not obvious that the only hope for our young people is for the Government to stop blaming other people, face their responsibilities and change their disastrous economic policies, in order to create real jobs that will last?

Mr. Prior

Did the hon. Gentleman read what the CBI said? If he had he would have noted that it said that 2,500,000 could be unemployed if we continued to pay ourselves more than we earn and become less competitive?

Mr. Eggar

Will my right hon. Friend begin discussions with the trade unions to try to persuade them to change their nineteenth century attitude to people who have been trained or retrained in skill-centres, but who they refuse to accept as skilled men?

Mr. Prior

In most cases there is good co-operation with the trade unions in the use of people from skillcentres. In some cases that is not so. Generally, in training, work experience and employment we shall need all the co-operation that we can get, even from the Opposition, in the next year.