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Tourist Industry Training

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 3 June 1986

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2.46 p.m.

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood, and with her permission, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in her name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance is being given from public funds to improve training in the tourist industry.

My Lords, the Manpower Services Commission gives assistance towards training and retraining for jobs in the travel and tourism industry under the youth training scheme and a number of adult training schemes. Grants for tourism-related YTS currently amount to around £20 million and more than £8 million is being spent by the Manpower Services Commission on tourism-related training under its adult training schemes. In addition, the provision within the maintained further education sector for vocational education and training for tourism-related jobs at craft, supervisory and management level has expanded rapidly over the past 10 years as tourism has grown in importance, although it is not possible under the block grant system of funding to estimate Government assistance to relevant college courses.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that very comprehensive Answer. Will he say what schemes are available in the further education sector—where projects have been so successful—in relation to Scotland?

My Lords, what I can say is that some 46,000 students were involved in non-advanced hotel and catering and travel and tourism courses in 1984. The commencement of courses in those subjects has carried on in 1985 and 1986. Alas, I cannot satisfy my noble friend with specific numbers regarding Scotland; that is slightly another question. However, I shall have the answer put in the Library.

My Lords, will the noble Lord the Secretary of State tell us to what extent the training payments being made for adults in the tourist industry are going to people who are unemployed as distinct from payments for further training of people already in the tourist trade, having regard to the fact that the Manpower Services Commission is putting much greater emphasis in the application of the adult training strategy on the training of employed adults rather than of unemployed adults?

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear. Some 2,400 people received training in hotel and catering under the job training scheme in 1984–85 at a cost of some £5·22 million; a further 2,000 received training in 1985–86 under the job training scheme, and they were predominantly unemployed people. Some 750 people working in the hotel and catering sector received training in 1985 and 1986 via local training and local consultancy grants. A further 300 received training under the training for enterprise scheme. They were predominantly employed people. We still have the balance going towards unemployed people.

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that a great deal of trouble is taken in the Lake District and not just in Scotland, which has already been referred to, and that the three colleges in that district run training competitions of different types with great advantage to the industry? Great steps are being made.

My Lords, the drive for more professionalism in tourism is gathering pace. It is paying great benefits for those who are going into employment after completing their courses.

My Lords, will the noble Lord say what, if anything, his department is doing towards the sponsoring of training in languages, which is surely of the essence as regards the tourist industry?

; My Lords, I take responsibility for a great many things, but I think responsibility for language training would lie with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

My Lords, in addition to the existing training facilities to do with tourism has any thought been given to the possibility of conjoining the efforts that are to be made with regard to the new litter teams that are envisaged so as to help tourism?

My Lords, I have read a great deal about the new litter teams. I think we should await the formal announcement on them.