HC Deb 05 August 1975 vol 897 cc128-30W
75. Mr. John H. Osborn

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he has now taken, in view of the problems of jobless school leavers, for funds to be offered to employers willing to employ school leavers as a training grant as an alternative to unemployment benefits.

Mr. Booth

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget Statement in April that £50 million would be made available to the Manpower Services Commission to finance employment and training policies over a two-year period. On 2nd July, the commission announced a package of measures, including a range of special initiatives to assist employers and unemployed school leavers. Among these were premium grants to employers to encourage them to recruit additional apprentices and special grants to employers in the construction industry recruiting apprentices for initial off-the-job training.

On 22nd July, the MSC announced a further package of special measures to increase the training opportunities available to young people. This provided for an extension to the range of premium grants to employers to include on-the-job as well as off-the-job first-year apprentice training. A number of selected employers are being provided with financial incentives to recruit additional apprentices for the full period of apprenticeship.

Both these packages make substantial provisions to increase the training opportunities for unemployed school leavers through training award schemes and enable about 10,000 training awards to be offered.

Mr. George Rodgers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many school leavers are unemployed in the areas served by the Leyland employment office and the Chorley employment office.

Mr. John Fraser

On 14th July 1975, 28 unemployed school leavers, aged under 18, were registered at Leyland and 85 at Chorley.

Mr. Terry Walker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many school leavers, leaving school at the end of summer term, have been unable to obtain employment and remain unemployed in the area covered by the Kings-wood employment offices.

Mr. John Fraser

I regret that precise information is not available. School leavers seeking their first employment normally register with the careers service provided by the Avon local education authority, which does not produce separate statistics for Kingswood. At present, the East Avon area—which includes Kingswood—is linked with central, south and north-west Bristol for statistical purposes, and in this combined area the number of school leavers registered as unemployed on 14th July was 232. Most of these were summer leavers, but further registrations are expected and a more reliable indication of the numbers still seeking employment will be provided by the August statistics.

In East Avon it is estimated that just over 1,100 young people left school to seek employment this summer, and so far 500 to 600 are understood to have obtained offers of employment.