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Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to meet the demand for qualified engineers.

It is a primary responsibility of employers to ensure that they attract, develop and retain qualified engineers. My Department, through the Training Agency, is taking action that will encourage employers to take a stronger lead in improving the supply of skills in industry, including engineering.

That action must be welcome. What liaison does my hon. Friend have with the Engineering Council to further its good work?

I recently had the pleasure of discussing matters with the chairman of the Engineering Council, Sir William Barlow. The measures that we are introducing, including TECs, recognition of the important role of employers in defining vocational qualifications and our various initiatives to encourage business and education partnerships, will all help to improve engineering skills.