HC Deb 17 December 1985 vol 89 cc150-1
12. Mr. Pike

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the educational content of the youth training scheme.

Mr. Chris Patten

The new two-year youth training scheme will give all trainees the opportunity to secure a recognised vocational qualification combining training and work experience with relevant education.

Mr. Pike

Does the Minister not understand that the Manpower Services Commission, YTS trainees and the Trades Union Congress aspire to a higher educational content in the YTS programme and that that cannot be achieved without additional funding? How can he expect the two-year programme to achieve a better standard of educational content with the same real terms funding as the one-year programme?

Mr. Patten

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman has said. I shall send him a copy of the speech that I made to the further education staff college a couple of weeks ago.

Mr. Dorrell

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the object of the YTS is to provide a skilled labour force for industry? It may be important to provide extra funding for adult education, but is it not better to address that issue separately than to try to distract the YTS to provide the funds?

Mr. Patten

I take my hon. Friend's point.

Mr. Sheerman

Rather than sending us copies of his speeches, will the Minister take on board the fact that many of the disadvantaged youngsters in our community who are in what are now called premium places—which used to be called mode B schemes — on two-year schemes are in great need of a special sort of education content? Is he aware that they will not receive the education content that they deserve, because of the 15 per cent. limit? Many disadvantaged youngsters will not have a mode B or premium place scheme within the YTS. What will he do about that with his colleagues in the

Mr. Patten

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman said. I think that he was straying into some of the territory of my right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster General. I still think that the hon. Gentleman would find my speech quite interesting.

Mr. Meadowcroft

Is the Minister happy with the increasing infiltration of the MSC into education, which is provoking an artificial split between education and training? Surely it is important to recognise that any training given under a two-year YTS would qualify the trainee for higher education. Does not the split between the Departments impede that development?

Mr. Patten

The more I listen to the hon. Gentleman, the better I think my speech was. I do not accept his premise.

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