asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on proposals to provide retraining places in skillcentres for redundant miners; how many places will be offered and in what areas; what will be the Government's financial contribution; and when discussions on this proposal were instigated.
I very much welcome the agreement signed on 2 May between the skillcentre training agency and the National Coal Board to provide training for people leaving the mining industry under the board's voluntary redundancy arrangements. This will create new opportunities for those who choose to leave the industry. The contract, worth up to £10 million, is the largest ever private contract obtained by the skillcentre training agency.Training will be available under these arrangements for all who choose to take voluntary redundancy and decide to take advantage of the opportunity. It is not possible at this stage to predict the number of applications which will be made. The training can be provided by any skillcentre in any National Coal Board area and will be within the capacity of the re-organised skillcentre network.This is a commercial contract between the National Coal Board and the Manpower Services Commission and will be financed accordingly by the Board.The discussions, linked to the development of the Board's enterprise initiative, were initiated in May 1984.