HC Deb 04 November 1980 vol 991 cc1090-1
11. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what schemes are under consideration by his Department to assist with the employment prospects of young people.

Mr. Prior

I have been considering with the Manpower Services Commission what more can be done to help the young unemployed, and an announcement will be made in due course.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Does my right hon. Friend have any plans to breathe new life into apprenticeships? Does he think that a more flexible entry at 17 or 17½ might give a new impetus?

Mr. Prior

That is a very important issue. We are giving a lot of consideration to it. I hope in the new Session of Parliament to bring forward at least a consultative document on the whole question of training. I am at the moment consulting the Manpower Services Commission. A review is under way. I hope that announcements will be not long delayed.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Since we care less for our young people than the other countries in Europe care about theirs, and since we want to run down the size of the work force, is there not much to be said for obligatory training and education of those aged 16 to 19, with proper maintainance grants provided, in order to deal with both issues?

Mr. Prior

These matters are being considered. I am well aware of them. The proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds trained here is smaller than in any other country, and that is a disgrace for a nation of Britain's stature. We should try to put it right.

Forward to