§ Mr. Madden
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the Government assistance available to employers to offer apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement about the provision of apprenticeships in the public and private sectors.
§ Mr. Golding
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that funds of about £6.6 million have been made available to 14 industrial training boards in the 1976–77 financial year to support their normal apprentice training programmes. In addition, three forms of assistance are currently available to employers through ITBs and other organisations under the special measures programme: incentive grants paid in respect112W of additional recruitment to apprenticeships and other forms of long-term training; a per capita supplement to the normal ITB grants paid for all recruitment to off-the-job apprentice training in the construction industry; and grants payable at ITBs' discretion to secure employment and continued training for unplaced award holders and redundant apprentices.
The MSC takes the view that industry has the primary responsibility for matching the scale of training to current and future requirements for skilled manpower. The extent of assistance to employers for long-term training under the special measures programme, currently covering some 25,000 grants at a cost of £23½ million, is based on estimates made by ITBs and other organisations of their industries' long-term needs; training awards for initial training under ITB sponsorship are also available under the programme, should recruitment still fall short of these needs.
Assistance is available to all sectors of industry, except mainly Exchequer-funded organisations.