HC Deb 06 November 1979 vol 973 c119W
30. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied that skillcentres are working and being used to full capacity; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jim Lester

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that while it is neither practicable nor desirable to achieve 100 per cent. occupancy at skillcentres, there is still scope to improve upon the current average occupancy of approximately 78 per cent. of operational places. The TOPS review published last year made a number of recommendations designed to do this which are being pursued. A review of skillcentre classes has identified a number of classes for closure because of poor occupancy; others more closely matched to local labour market needs are being opened in their place. Marketing and other efforts to improve recruitment of trainees, particularly for engineering classes, are being undertaken, and sponsored training of employees is being increased which should help to make maximum use of available capacity in skillcentres.