§ Mr. Evennett
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he intends to introduce measures to ensure that sufficient training places in science and engineering are available to meet the needs of industry.
§ Sir Keith Joseph
I would remind my hon. Friend of the Government's initiative to increase higher diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate provision in information technology, in universities and the public sector of higher education, by 20 per cent. over previously planned numbers, which I announced on 16 December 1982 at columns187–189.
As a result of the planning exercise conducted recently by the National Advisory Body, there will be a significant 36W shift in subject balance within local authority higher education (LAHE) in 1984–85 towards scientific, technological and business-related subjects. First-year intakes to full-time and sandwich courses in engineering are planned to increase by 15 per cent. in 1984–85 over 1982–83, and intakes in mathematics and computing, including most LAHE information technology courses, are planned to rise by 49 per cent.
In response to a request from the University Grant Committee, universities have indicated that at their new levels of staffing and funding the admission of over 3,000 additional students, mainly in scientific and technological subjects, might be achieved in both 1984–85 and 1985–86.
I am also considering, in conjunction with the Engineering Council and others, whether current estimates of demand call for additional measures to be taken.