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Training Opportunities Scheme

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people enter training opportunities scheme courses from full employment so as to learn a new skill.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that approximately one-third of TOPS trainees enter training from full employment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people trained under the training opportunities scheme are found work by private employment agencies.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of people who have completed courses under the training opportunities scheme, and who are found work by private employment agencies, is not known.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of those on training opportunities scheme courses are placed in work for which they are trained; and what period elapses between completion of the course and the start of a job.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that a 4 per cent. random sample survey of all those who completed TOPS courses in June and July 1976 showed that in the period up to the end of October 1976, 51 per cent. had found a job in which they considered that they made use of their training. Another 18 per cent. had found other jobs, and a further 2 per cent. were in, or awaiting, further training. The period between completion of the course and the start of a job can vary substantially from one individual to another; some trainees receive offers of work before their courses have ended, whereas others may wait several months before obtaining suitable employment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps his Department takes to ensure that those on training opportunities scheme courses find a job suitable to their training at the end of their courses.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency offer a comprehensive placing service to assist trainees to find employment in their training trades. At skillcentres there are specialist placing officers. Trainees at other institutions are put in touch with the local ESA employment office or jobcentre in advance of the end of their course.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what screening the Manpower Commission institutes so as to ascertain the benefits which applicants to training opportunities scheme courses may obtain or their suitability.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that selection procedures for TOPS training incorporate a variety of tests, depending on the course concerned. These tests include a simple arithmetic test, a colour vision test and a variety of more demanding mathmetical and English tests. Applicants for many courses, particularly in skillcentres, must also appear before a selection panel containing representatives of employers and trade unions. Selection procedures are currently being reinforced to ensure as far as possible that applications are taken only from candidates who are suitable for the training course concerned, and likely to find employment using their new skill.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much is spent on maintaining the wages of fully employed people who have elected to go to training opportunities scheme courses.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that about £48 million was spent on training allowances and travelling expenses in the last financial year. Allowances are paid both to those who prior to training were unemployed and to those who were employed. We have no breakdown of this figure between the employed and unemployed.