§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what courses on information technology are sponsored by the Manpower Services Commission; how many people attended such courses in 1981; and what are the target figures for 1982.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
[pursuant to his reply, 7 April, c. 345]: The Manpower Services Commission supports training in information technology in four main ways.
First, under the training opportunities scheme the Commission sponsors courses in systems analysis, computer programming, computer operating, data processing, computer-aided design and technical authorship (software). In the 1981–82 financial year about 4,300 adults completed these courses. It is estimated that in 1982–83 about 3,900 adults will be assisted, reflecting the fact that firms are not expected to need to recruit so many computer operators in 1982–83. From 1982–83 all clerical and commercial courses (about 10,800 places) supported under the training opportunities scheme will also include a component of information technology training. Similar arrangements are being made for young people who join the Commission's training programmes.
Second, in 1981–82 over 2,000 grants were made available so that employers could train existing staff in computer skills. Detailed plans for 1982–83 have yet to be finalised. In 1981–82 the Commission also made 250 grants available to assist the industrial placement of higher national diploma or degree course students on computer science courses. Support in 1982–83 will be at the same level.
Third, under the threshold programme, assistance is offered to unemployed school leavers to take up computer training; 1,476 places were available in 1981–82 and support in 1982–83 will be at the same level.
Finally, as part of the youth opportunities programme, the Manpower Services Commission and the Department of Industry plan to have 100 information technology centres established by April 1983. These centres will provide places for some 3,000 trainees.