HC Deb 22 May 1978 vol 950 cc409-10W
Mr. Ralph Howell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will compile a list showing each of the measures to alleviate unemployment among school leavers in which her Department has been involved, and including the value of the weekly benefit or allowance paid.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

The education service has contributed to the measures to alleviate unemployment among school leavers by providing, by arrangement with the former Training Services Agency, courses in colleges of further education—usually 10–16 weeks—of the following kinds: (i) short industrial courses; (ii) wider opportunities courses; (iii) occupational selection courses. Colleges have also provided, in certain cases, further education in association with the Manpower Services Commission's job creation and work experience programmes.

From 1st April, all special measures for young people are being progressively assimilated into the youth opportunities programme, which will be in full operation by the autumn. The education service will be called on for an increased contribution, not only because the programme will provide more opportunities but also because it is the intention that all opportunities—including work experience of all kinds—should include integrated elements of further education and training.

Allowances paid to young people are a matter for the MSC; different rates have applied at different times and in different circumstances. On 1st April a standard allowance of £19.50 was introduced for all opportunities under the youth opportunities programme.

In addition, resources are being made available to local education authorities to enable them to provide 9,000 additional full-time further education places by 1980–81; these are primarily intended for young people who would otherwise face the risk of unemployment. Registered unemployed young people may attend part-time further education courses for up to 21 hours a week, provided that they remain available for work, without losing their entitlement to supplementary benefit.