§ Mr. Foster
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what would be the gross and net cost of funding 8,000 apprenticeships as approved by the Engineering Industrial Training Board for 1981–82.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
The policy of succesive Governments has been that the prime responsibility for industrial training rests with employers. Government funding for engineering apprenticeships is therefore normally restricted to the first year of training, which is the most costly because it is spent off the job.
This funding is provided under the Manpower Services Commission's "Training for Skills Programme for Action". The commission has offered the Engineering Industrial Training Board extra funds for the first year training of 2,000 additional trainees this year. The cost for 8,000 trainees would be £28 million.
It is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the net cost of training 8,000 first year apprentices because they might otherwise have entered other employment, be unemployed or be receiving other training.