§ Mr. Watson
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will consider extending the period of training given to boys directed to the mines; whether he is aware that many are being sent to highly mechanised mines, and that the present period is much too short to learn anything about these machines.
§ Mr. T. Smith
My right hon. Friend does not consider that there is any need in present circumstances to extend the four-week period of pre-employment training for directed entrants. This cannot be more than a general preliminary introduction to work below ground, and the proper place for detailed training is the mine itself. Under the Coal Mining (Training and Medical Examination) Order, 1944, persons without previous experience of any class of work in or about a coal mine have to be given adequate instruction under competent supervision until competent to do that class of work without supervision, and no new entrant can be employed at the coal face without at least 16 weeks' experience of other work below ground and further suitable training on each class of work he has to do at the face.