§ 3.46 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CHAMPION)
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I should like to make a Statement similar to that which my right honourable friend the Minister of Labour has just made in another place about the future development of the Youth Employment Service. If I may, I will use his own words, which are as follows:
"Under the Chairmanship of Lady Albemarle, a Working Party set up by the National Youth Employment Council in January, 1964, has been considering the future development of the Youth Employment Service in the light of recent developments in education and the changing needs of industry. The Working Party's Report is published to-day. On behalf of the Government, I wish to thank Lady Albemarle and her colleagues for their very thorough examination of these problems, which are of such importance to young people and our national prosperity, and for producing so thoughtful and constructive a Report.
"The Government accept the Report as providing valuable guide lines for the development of the Service over the next few years. The two major priorities are clearly staffing and staff training. As regards the former, the Government agree that more staff will be needed to enable the Service to meet the increasing demands which are being made on its officers, and that the progressive build-up of staff which has been a feature of recent years should be continued. I am proposing shortly to issue guidance on this matter to the local authorities concerned and to review the staffing needs of the Service 622 in those areas where it is operated by my Department. As regards the training of staff, the Government accept the need for urgent action to extend the existing facilities for intensive in-service training, and I am proposing to set up a full-time training unit for this purpose under the direction of the Central Youth Employment Executive.
"Before reaching a decision on recommendations whose implementation would require legislation, I propose to consult the interested local authority associations."
My Lords, that concludes my right honourable friend's Statement.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I am sure we are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Champion, for repeating that Statement. In all parts of your Lordships' House there is the highest regard for the Youth Employment Service, and I am sure we all welcome anything that can be done to improve and develop it, particularly at a time when more young people than ever before are emerging from our schools and it is vitally important, not only that they are found employment but that they are found the right employment. I should also like to associate myself with the thanks expressed by the noble Lord to Lady Albemarle for her Report.
I have not as yet had much time to read that Report—and I do not expect other noble Lords have—but certainly three of its recommendations seem to me to be of the highest value: the need to develop the work in schools in greater depth than before; the need to accord a high priority to maintaining close relations with employers; and the need to make earlier and more effective contact with parents. It seems these three items would be of immense importance, and certainly I should agree that there is a need for an increase in the staff of the Service and in the training facilities. But I think that further comment should really wait until we have had a chance to give greater consideration to the Report itself.