HC Deb 21 February 2000 vol 344 cc1237-8
21. Mr. David Kidney (Stafford)

What plans he has for increasing work-based training and education for young people in the armed forces. [109422]

The Minister for the Armed Forces (Mr. John Spellar)

All three services are actively involved in a range of projects designed to improve access to training and education at the workplace, as follow-on work to our learning forces initiative. That involves considerable and widespread investment in interactive learning facilities and in computers with internet access. However, those measures are not targeted specifically at young people; they are aimed at all members of the armed forces.

Mr. Kidney

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Has he held any discussions with his ministerial colleagues at the Department for Education and Employment about the proposed new connection service? Will he ensure that the education and training benefits of a career in the armed forces will be fairly presented to those young people who avail themselves of that service?

Mr. Spellar

I am pleased to say that we are co-operating very well with the Department for Education and Employment, not only in this area but also very much in the area of craft apprenticeships within our establishment. We certainly believe that, as a result of this and other initiatives, the armed forces provide an excellent career for young people, and we hope that the Department for Education and Employment and education authorities throughout the country will help to get that message across.