asked the Secretary of State for Air why there is a shortage of wireless fitters in the R.A.F.; and what is the average delay in demobilisation of this trade as compared with the average rate of release in the R.A.F.
The present serious shortage of wireless fitters in the R.A.F. is: due. to the following causes: the more rapid rate of release from the R.A.F.; the shortage of recruits of the necessary standard to take the place of wireless fitters who have been released; the shortage of qualified instructors; the lengthy weeks—41 weeks—of the training course for wire-less fitters; and the disappointing response of wireless fitters in the R.A.F. to the Bounty Scheme. Vigorous action has been taken to improve matters; a lower qualifying standard has been accepted for recruits; we no longer rely for our instructing staff on volunteers; and an additional, and less skilled, trade of wireless mechanic has been established, for which a training course of only 20 weeks is needed. These measures will see a quickening of the output of trained wireless fitters towards the end of this year. At present, however, wireless fitters are being released four months later than most trades in the R.A.F., and this delay will, to my regret, be as much as six months by the end of September. The rate of release should then improve, and it is expected that, by the end of the year the delay will have been reduced to three months.
asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will give a table showing the numbers taken into training as wireless fitters during each month, or other convenient period, during 1946 and 1947; and the numbers of wireless fitters due for demobilisation on the basis of age and length of service during the same periods.
Yes. With the hon. Member's consent, I will send him a table giving him the information for which he asks.