HC Deb 10 May 1999 vol 331 cc21-2W
Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what skill shortages he has identified within Her Majesty's forces. [82602]

Mr. Doug Henderson

In the Naval Service there is a shortfall of Engineer Officers, particularly Direct Graduate Entry Engineers, and Engineer (Training Managers). For Ratings/Other Ranks the shortfall categories are: Operator Mechanics; trained Naval Nurses; Short Engagement Seamen; Artificer Apprentices; Commando Medical Assistants; and General Duties Marines. For the Army, there are skills shortages in the medical, dental, and veterinary services. Shortfalls also exist in the Royal Artillery, Royal Signals, Infantry, Army Air Corps, Royal Logistics Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Intelligence Corps and Corps of Army Musicians. The RAF has a shortfall in the number of junior officer fast jet pilots, and officers in engineering and medical branches. A shortage in RAF Fighter Controllers is also giving cause for concern.

Each Service has introduced a range of initiatives to reduce these shortfalls.