HC Deb 15 March 1976 vol 907 cc449-50W
Mr. Rossi

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many apprentices in the building industry have become redundant in the past six months; if this is an accelerating problem; and what steps he is taking to ensure that such apprentices are not permanently lost to the construction industry.

Mr. Harold Walker

I understand from the Manpower Services Commission that some 980 apprentices in the construction industry are known to have been made redundant over the five months October 1975 to February 1976. The figure for the last six months is not available.

While the number of apprentices made redundant has been accelerating the rate of acceleration has begun to level off; it is not known whether this trend will continue. The Manpower Services Commission is fully conscious of the need to maintain the supply of skilled manpower in the industry and among the measures it introduced in 1975 was a scheme designed to assist redundant apprentices to continue their training.

Where it proves difficult to obtain alternative employment assistance may be given under this scheme which is operated by the Training Services Agency and the Industrial Training Boards. One option is to offer a grant of £750, funded by the TSA, to an employer who is prepared to take on a redundant apprentice and to complete his training. An alternative arrangement is for the continued training to be provided under the auspices of the temporary attachment to an employer. This arrangement is funded by the industry with a substantial contribution from TSA. The National Joint Council for the Building Industry has recognised that attachments to an employer for a limited period of training should count towards the completion of the apprenticeship.

Up to the end of February some 318 redundant construction apprentices have already been assisted under these arrangements. This figure of course excludes those who had obtained continued training without recourse to these schemes.