To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many 16 and 17-year-olds are currently on youth training schemes.
On 31 October there were 391,719 YTS trainees with a two-year training entitlement and 25,084 with a one-year entitlement. Those with a two-year entitlement usually start training at 16 and those with a one-year entitlement usually start at 17.
I thank the Minister for that reply. Has he seen the October edition of his Department's Employment Gazette, which shows that YTS trainees in the retailing sector produce for their employers an average of £39 per week added value? The average for the eight industries that take 59 per cent. of YTS trainees placed with employers is £32 a week. If that amount is added to the current YTS allowance, £70 a week is coming into employers' hands. Why cannot trainees have a decent training allowance of at least £55 a week?
The training allowance is adequate, and a recent survey which showed that 80 per cent. of trainees thought that their training was worth while proves that fact.
Will my hon. Friend confirm that, nationally, more than 70 per cent. of young people on YTS go on to further education training or a job, and that in some areas, including Norwich, the figure may be higher? Is this not a major success, compared with the feeble efforts of the Labour party when it was in government some years ago?
The figures are very encouraging, and they show the success of the scheme.
Will the Minister admit that these figures show a disappointing level of employed youngsters on youth training? The original intention of the scheme was for it to be a good training base for young people in and out of work. Is it not about time that the Government said that no youngster should be going into work without training, and is it not about time also that we caught up with our industrial competitors and trained young people who are in and out of work?
With over 400,000 people being trained on it, YTS is a very successful scheme. The option remains for youngsters to go directly into work, if they so wish, without going on YTS, and that should remain so.