HC Deb 27 July 1982 vol 28 c909
4. Sir William van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many young people have so far taken part in his Department's adventure training scheme.

Mr. Nott

So far 2,295 young people have taken part in our youth adventure scheme.

Sir William van Straubenzee

In view of that encouraging figure, will my right hon. Friend congratulate the Service personnel who played a part in a remarkable initiative, which must have given great pleasure and constituted a great challenge to many young people? Will my right hon. Friend rest assured that there is widespread support for it and that it is disapproved of only by a few unrepresentative Left-wingers?

Mr. Nott

I thank my hon. Friend for welcoming the scheme. I understand that it is going extremely well. The vast majority of young people who have attended the courses have gained great benefit from them. As my hon. Friend said, it was an extremely imaginative and useful gesture on the part of the Services to arrange such a series of courses this summer.

Mr. McNamara

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that I am visiting HMS "Raleigh" tomorrow to look at the scheme. How many young people who are not members of cadet corps have taken part in the courses, how many of them are unemployed, and what is the breakdown of the sexes? At the end of the scheme, will the right hon. Gentleman produce a full report so that the House and the country can decide whether they would like to see such a scheme again?

Mr. Nott

It would be useful to produce a summary of what the young people felt about it and how it went at the end of the season. That is a good idea and I shall certainly do that.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the number of young people taking part in the course who are on the unemployment register. We have advertised it widely in areas of the country where we do not normally recruit many people for the Armed Services. We have tried to give it as broad a coverage as possible. It has gone well beyond those who are interested in the cadet services. Therefore, it involves a broad span of people. We want to make it as wide as possible.