HC Deb 24 November 1960 vol 630 cc138-40W
Dr. A. Thompson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the membership and what are the functions of the Advisory Committee on Facilities for Commonwealth Trainees in the United Kingdom; if this committee has yet met; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maudling

The Commonwealth Education Conference held in July, 1959, suggested increased mutual assistance by Commonwealth countries in providing training and experience in industry. After preliminary discussion with the main industrial organisations, the Board of Trade decided that the first step was to set up the Committee to which the hon. Member refers. It consists of representatives of the Federation of British Industries, the National Union of Manufacturers, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce and the British Council as well as the Board of Trade, the Commonwealth Relations Office, the Colonial Office, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The British Employers' Confederation and the Trades Union Congress agreed to consider the Committee's papers and to attend as necessary.

Every year many thousands from other Commonwealth countries spend periods training in United Kingdom industry, as a result of private arrangements made direct with the firms concerned or, alternatively, under various British and international schemes providing for such training. It is not intended that the Committee should interfere with these arrangements but that it should, wherever possible, arrange for these facilities to be increased to meet the special needs of other Commonwealth countries. At its first meeting last March the Committee arranged for inquiries to be sent to other Commonwealth countries as to their precise needs. So far it has been possible to deal with the few requests made by other Commonwealth countries through normal Ministry of Labour machinery and therefore a further meeting of the Committee has not yet been necessary.

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