HL Deb 31 January 1984 vol 447 cc547-8

Baroness Lockwood: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the relative position between young males and young females in the youth training scheme in terms of numbers and in the type of training being undertaken.

The Minister of State, Privy Council Office, and Minister for the Arts (The Earl of Gowrie)

My Lords, of the 284,000 young people who had entered the youth training scheme by the end of November, 166,000 (or 58 per cent.) were male and 118,000 (or 42 per cent.) were female. More detailed information about the type of training being undertaken is not at present available.

Baroness Lockwood

My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for his reply and welcome the fact that there is some monitoring of the numbers of male and female entrants to the YTS. However, in view of the Manpower Services Commission's research projects, the results of which were published in R and D series No. 11 by the MSC, would the noble Earl agree that it is necessary for positive steps to be taken to try to eradicate the traditional types of training that are offered to females as opposed to males? Secondly, would he also agree that a very useful first step in this direction might be for the publicity put out by the Manpower Services Commission on the YTS to take a more positive approach to the recruitment of girls for technical subjects? Some of the imbalance might then be removed.

The Earl of Gowrie

My Lords, on the issue of publicity and recruitment, all general publicity and marketing material has been designed to make the scheme equally attractive to males and females. But through specific marketing material we are also trying to encourage young people to use the YTS as an introduction to types of work which they might have thought were closed to them because of the traditional attitudes to the role of men and women in jobs. To that degree I agree with what the noble Baroness has said. I must also point out that part of the imbalance is due to the fact—and the general evidence is to this effect—that young women have a slightly higher rate of taking up real employment than young men.

Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge

My Lords, when the noble Earl says that there is no information available about the types of training, does he mean that he has not asked for it? I simply cannot believe that it is not available because it is part of the Government's policy.

The Earl of Gowrie

No, my Lords, it does not mean that. It means that this supplementary and monitoring material is at present in the process of being gathered.

Lord Leatherland

My Lords, can the Minister tell us what we are to understand from the expression, "young females" in the Question, because lots of them consider themselves young at 55, 60 and even 65?

The Earl of Gowrie

My Lords, I am very sorry that the noble Lord is not eligible for many of these admirable Government schemes; but I am sure that we can find something for him.

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