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Training Schemes (Liverpool)

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on the success rate of training schemes in Liverpool.

The Government spent over £26 million in 1986–87 on a wide range of training schemes in Liverpool to enable young people and adults to acquire the skills that they need to compete for jobs. Well over half of those leaving YTS between March and September 1986 entered work or further training. Sixty-six per cent. of those leaving the job training scheme between April and October 1986 entered work or further training, and 74 per cent. of people leaving training for enterprise courses in the period April to October 1986 entered work, 58 per cent. of them in a self-employed capacity.

Is the Minister aware that a Liverpool university survey showed that one third of all school leavers on Merseyside failed to find a job and that 60 per cent., as the Minister said, entered training schemes? Is it not therefore important that the quality of those schemes is maintained? Does he agree that schemes like that run by the North Liverpool Music Resource Centre have brought training schemes into some disrepute? While I thank the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment, the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee), who has helped to ensure the quality of that scheme and the prospects for the young people involved in it, does the Minister agree that it is important, if schemes are to be successful, that quality must be maintained and the people who run the schemes must be above the claims of disrepute that have been thrown around?

I agree that we are searching for quality in all our schemes, particularly YTS and JTS. I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would start by referring to the figures that I gave in my substantive answer, although perhaps that is asking too much. However, I am sure he would agree that they are impressive. The percentage of those finding work, as a result of taking advantage of the schemes, is very high. There is no difference between the hon. Gentleman and the Government on the matter of quality.

On the specific point about Liverpool, has my hon. Friend seen any sign of an increase in applications from ex-Militant Labour councillors for training places?

Certainly in my region, the north-west region, we have seen a considerable number of applications from those Militants to be parliamentary candidates at the forthcoming election. We shall make hay of that come election day.