§ Mr. Warren
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will investigate the curricula of all training opportunities scheme courses to ensure that they are acceptable for vacancies arising in Government Departments; and if he will make a statement as to the reasons why the curriculum of the computer 264W programming and operating courses sponsored under the TOPS scheme does not meet the requirements of the Civil Service Department.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the curricula of skillcentre courses under the TOPS scheme are agreed with employers' organisations and trade unions. Some Government Departments, in common with some employers in the private sector, have agreements with trade unions that limit the engagement of staff to apprentice-served people in certain skilled occupations.
The curricula of courses supported under TOPS in colleges of further education were agreed with the colleges concerned after consultation within industry and with the appropriate educational and vocational bodies—e.g. City and Guilds of London Institute, Royal Society of Arts, British Computer Society, etc. Trainees who complete such courses successfully thus are generally acceptable to industry and commerce. Individual employers are free, however, to set whatever standards they consider are necessary to meet their own individual needs.