HC Deb 02 March 1987 vol 111 cc577-8
6. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he plans to take to increase the proportion of young Welsh people who have participated in the YTS who go on from training to jobs.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

The progress on two-year YTS is very encouraging. Fifty-eight per cent. of YTS leavers in the first five months of 1986–87 went into jobs compared with 52 per cent. in the same period in 1985–86. The recent introduction of approved training organisation status and the training standards advisory service will consolidate the improvements already being made.

Mr. Knox

I welcome that excellent news. How many young people in Wales have joined the YTS since last April? How many organisations have applied for approved training organisation status over the same period?

Mr. Roberts

As I told my hon. Friend, the progress has been encouraging. In Wales, over 27,000 young people have joined the YTS since April 1986 and some 188 organisations have applied for approved training organisation status.

Mr. Rowlands

Is the Minister aware of the importance in the creation of opportunities for young people of community projects which are run by our churches and by organisations such as the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders? Is he aware of the proposed 10 per cent. cut in these projects and that the impact on these projects in terms of morale and development could be serious? Will the hon. Gentleman ask the MSC to review this policy?

Mr. Roberts

Of course, I am very much aware of the importance of the community programme, which caters for about 22,000 people in Wales. We intend to introduce the job training scheme for young people aged between 18 and 25. I am sure that some of those young people will come from the community programme and, therefore, the burden of financing the community programme should be less.

Sir Raymond Gower

Does my hon. Friend recall allegations by the Opposition that these schemes were nothing better than a means of concealing unemployment? My hon. Friend's answers show that for 58 per cent. of these people it was a gateway to subsequent employment.

Mr. Roberts

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Moreover, the YTS is not just a gateway to employment—it also provides high-quality training. The aim of the new scheme, the JTS about which I spoke a moment ago, is to provide high-quality training as well. Training of this kind is now essential throughout working life.