HC Deb 26 January 1984 vol 52 cc1038-9
4. Mr. Nellist

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of youngsters completing the youth training programme in Northern Ireland are now in full-time employment.

Mr. Butler

Information maintained does not distinguish between those completing their training and those leaving early. However, during the last quarter of 1983, of those young people who left the youth training programme and whose destinations are known, 53 per cent. went straight into employment.

Mr. Nellist

Does the Minister realise that I find that figure difficult to understand or believe, especially as he has admitted in recent weeks that it would require too much form-filling by employers in Northern Ireland to determine how many 16 and 17-year-olds are in employment? If only two fifths of youngsters in Britain as a whole obtain jobs after going through the youth training schemes, how can the Minister monitor the effectiveness of training if he does not know how many youngsters are in employment?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Gentleman is referring to questions for written answer put down by him on the ages of individuals. We keep records of those who come under what we call the guaranteed year, which is the first year after leaving school, and those in the next year. I assure him that my reply is correct. I should like the figure to be higher. I wish the hon. Gentleman would give at least some credit to the youth training programme for producing what is, in today's circumstances, a good result. We do undertake monitoring, but in a way that differs from what the hon. Gentleman would like.

Mr. Soley

Does the Minister accept the underlying implication and accusation of my hon. Friend's question? Is it not a fact that the problem is that post-school people have neither jobs nor education? When will the Government produce a scheme which provides either education or jobs for people in that age group?

Mr. Butler

The accusation of the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) was that I was not giving the right answer, but the answer was correct. It demonstrated that, at least in the case of more than half of the trainees, the youth training programme is doing a good job in providing the skills that make them more qualified for employment.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Will the Minister inform the House of the percentage paid by Europe towards the youth training schemes in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Butler

I would require notice of that question before answering, but there is some benefit and we are glad to receive it.

Forward to