§ 52. Mr. Hicks
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any specific proposals to increase training opportunities for the young in rural areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jim Lester
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that financial assistance under its training for skills programme is made available to support apprenticeships and other forms of long-term training for young people on a national basis which includes but does not specifically relate to rural areas.
As I announced on 14 February, we have agreed that the Manpower Services Commission should increase the size of the youth opportunities programme from 210,000 entrants in 1979–1980 to 250,000 to 260,000 entrants in 1980–1981. The undertakings for comprehensive provision 165W for unemployed school leavers and for young people unemployed for 12 months or more will require opportunities to be mounted for all those covered, including those in rural areas.