HC Deb 25 February 1952 vol 496 cc87-8W
Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give particulars of the agricultural training schemes provided by his Department; and say what further provision is to be made for training town boys who wish to enter the agricultural industry.

Sir T. Dugdale

Particulars of the three adult agricultural training schemes run by my Department, as part of the Government's Vocational Training Scheme administered by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, are as follows

  1. (1) The General Training Scheme provides 12 months' practical training in agriculture or horticulture on a farm or holding approved as suitable for the purpose. It is open to any able-bodied man or women over 18 years of age who is not already qualified to undertake skilled work in an occupation in which there is a reasonable prospect of regular employment.
  2. (2) The Ex-Regular Training Scheme provides a course of practical training in agriculture or horticulture on approved farms for ex-Regular members of H.M. Forces, who have not learnt a skilled trade. In addition, if they complete this practical training with outstanding success, trainees are offered a further year of higher training at a Farm Institute.
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  4. (3) The Disabled Persons Scheme provides training in agriculture and horticulture of a kind similar to that offered under the Ex-Regular Scheme. It is open to all disabled persons over 16 years of age who, in the opinion of the Ministry of Labour, need training for suitable employment and qualify under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act, 1944.

Training costs nothing to the trainee under any of these Schemes, and weekly training allowances, scaled according to age and sex, together with allowances for travelling expenses and dependents' maintenance if necessary, are also paid during training. Details of each of these Schemes and the precise conditions which apply are given in the publicity leaflets issued by the Ministry of Labour and National Service.

There are also two juvenile training schemes for town boys who wish to take up work in agriculture. The "British Boys for British Farms" Scheme is operated by the Y.M.C.A., with financial assistance from the Exchequer in respect of each boy trained and placed; it offers agricultural training to boys between the ages of 15 and 17. The boys are housed in hostels and trained on surrounding farms for eight to 10 weeks, before the Association seeks to place them in work with a farmer.

Secondly, there is the Town Boys and Girls Training Scheme which is run directly by my Department through certain County Agricultural Executive Committees. It enables boys and girls over 15 years of age, who would otherwise have no ready access to agricultural employment, to receive up to 13 weeks' training on selected farms. This Scheme, in its present form, was started in 1951 as an experiment to attract boys and girls to agriculture in areas where it was thought there was a demand not entirely met by the Y.M.C.A. Scheme. So far it has been restricted to 15 counties, but after longer experience of its working I shall be prepared to consider extending it further.