asked the Minister of Labour how many boys and girls, respectively, have been apprenticed through the commercial apprenticeship scheme since 31st August, 1959; and what percentage this represents of recruitment into clerical employment of the relevant age group.
Ninety-eight boys and three girls between 16 and 18 were enrolled under the Commercial Apprenticeship Scheme in the year ended 31st August, 1960. This represents 0·2 per cent. of the number of boys and girls in this age group taking up clerical work. The scheme is for the training of candidates for executive posts, and the field of recruitment is therefore much smaller than that for clerical work.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary explain why the Minister of Labour boasted about the high number of people entering clerical employment when he spoke in the apprenticeship debate? This is one example of apprenticeship training where there are serious deficiencies, and there are other wide areas as well. Can he give reasons why more efforts are not made to encourage clerical apprenticeship schemes?
I agree that the increase hoped for has not been achieved, but it should be remembered that a number of firms have their own schemes for training, both for executive posts and general clerical duties. Unfortunately, the figures are not available for people trained under those arrangements, but I am informed that the number is appreciable. However, there is no doubt that more systematic training is required.