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Column 139At least a third of the vacancies on offer require no special qualifications or experience. But in any case many of London's longer-term unemployed have academic or vocational qualifications, including nearly one in 10 who have degrees. Many of them also have experience in management or skilled jobs. They therefore already have the background which employers are seeking.
A quarter of the longer-term unemployed people interviewed had not looked for work in the last week. Furthermore, many of those who said they were actively looking for a job did not do so using the methods which employers use to fill vacancies.
Some unemployed people in London clearly need the opportunity to retrain in up-to-date skills, and we now have employment training for them. But others need to look more intensively for the available jobs for which they are already well suited. The surveys also underline the importance of the measures the Government are taking to ensure that benefit is drawn only by those who are genuinely unemployed.
36. Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if his Department has conducted research into the possible effects on the physical and mental health of 16-year-olds of working hours considerably in excess of 48 per week without properly regulated rest periods.
37. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the Government's proposals to encourage visitors to the United Kingdom from the far east and Japan.
Mr. Lee : The far east and Japan are increasingly important tourism markets, and the British Tourist Authority has developed a number of marketing initiatives specifically to increase visitor numbers from these areas. There were some 320,000 visitors to the United Kingdom from the region in the first six months of 1988, an increase of 24 per cent. over the same period in 1987.
39. Mr. Richard Page : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received following the publication of the Training Commission's report on the self-employed ; and if he will make a statement.
42. Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he takes to ensure that current Government policies will enable women in sufficient numbers to join the work force in the next decade.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend has taken, and will continue to take, steps to enable women to join the work force through deregulatory measures which free women to compete equally with men for jobs ; and positive action to help women obtain the necessary training for employment.
Nearly 1.5 million more women joined the labour force in the five years to March 1988.
In addition, all Government policies are now equal
opportunity-proofed so that their effect on women can be assessed. My own Department has equal opportunity-proofed new policies and programmes since 1985.
87. Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on the increase of employment of women following the publication of the Training Commission report 1987-88 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : The Government place great importance on the contribution that women can make to meeting skill needs in the Labour market. In developing its training programmes the Government has listened carefully to the advice it has received from numerous organisations with an interest in the economic development of women.
44. Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of disabled people of working age are employed ; and what action he is taking to increase job opportunities for disabled people.
Mr. Lee : The latest information relating to disability and employment is that provided by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys in the recently published report on the financial circumstances of disabled adults living in private households, based on a survey in 1985. The survey estimated that 31 per cent. of all people of working age, who met the definition of disability used in that survey, were in employment. However, the survey information published to date does not make it possible to establish the proportion of those not in employment who would have been available for work.
For answer to the second part of the question I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe).
Column 141retain jobs through advice, assessment, rehabilitation and training ; and in the case of people with severe disabilities, support in the form of sheltered employment. My officers are continuing to give all possible help through the application of these services and are doing so against a background of increasing employment opportunities. The range of services and help supported by my Department are the subject of an internal review, set up in March, work on which is now well advanced.
45. Mr. Moss : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations has he received following the publication of the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Department of Employment and Training Commission report on small firms ; and if he will make a statement.
47. Mr. Alexander : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received in response to the publication of the 1987 British Tourist Board's annual report ; and if he will make a statement.
62. Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has taken steps to assess the efficiency of the operation of the section 4 financial assistance for tourist projects of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : Textile employers have the responsibility for determining and meeting the skill and training needs of operatives in their industry. The training agency has a close working relationship with the textile industry training organisations and is supporting projects run by them to develop standards of competence and to improve the level of skill of textile operatives. It is also currently funding over 900 YTS places in textile manufacturing. I hope that employers will seize the opportunity which the Government's employment training programme affords them to improve recruitment and training in the industry.
Mr. Cope : I refer my hon. Friend to the statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made to the House yesterday in which he announced the publication of the White Paper "Employment for the 1990s"; and to the Employment Bill.
Column 143initiative to all their secondary schools and colleges. Students in some 1,400 schools and colleges are benefiting from the enriched curriculum provided by TVEI, and the education of virtually all 14 to 18-year-olds in Great Britain will become more relevant to working life as the extension programme develops within the overall framework of the Government's education policies.
Mr. Nicholls : The Government are fully aware of views expressed about the drawbacks of the scheme. However, as was made clear in the previous parliamentary Session there are no current plans to change its operation.
Mr. Nicholls : Yes. The gross supply provision for 1988-89 is £109 million and the previously planned provision for 1989-90 is £112 million. This will now be increased following the outcome of PES discussions, and consideration is being given as to the amount.
Mr. Cope : Health and safety remain of paramount importance in YTS. YTS is fully covered by health and safety legislation. There is a contractual requirement on all managing agents to comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act both in work placements and off-the-job training. In addition, positive commitment to health and safety is one of 10 criteria a training organisation now has to satisfy before achieving approved training organisation status. We have in hand improved safety training packages both for young people and trainers.
Mr. Cope : At the end of October 1988 YTS records show 435,000 young people in training on YTS. A total of 252,000 young people entered YTS for the first time between 1 April 1988 and 31 October 1988--the majority of these entrants were 16 and 17-year-olds.
Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report figures to show the categories of training and numbers of trainees on each, undertaken by females on YTS schemes (a) nationally and (b) in Durham, North-West constituency.
Information is not available for trainees in Durham, North-West constituency. However information on the numbers of females in training by training occupation for the Training Agency Durham area is available, but not immediately to hand. I will write to the hon. Member shortly and place a copy of the letter in the Library.
Occupational breakdown of females on YTS schemes, 31 October 1988 Occupations |Number of females in |training --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Administrative and clerical occupations |56,500 Creative and educational and recreational service occupations |3,700 Health, community and personal service occupations |44,600 Selling and storage occupations |27,900 Scientific occupations |700 Catering and food preparation and processing occupations |8,400 Agricultural and related occupations |5,100 Fishing occupations |<1> Transport operating occupations |500 Construction and civil engineering occupations |1,600 Mining, oil extraction and quarrying occupations |<1> Electrical and electronic engineering occupations |700 Mechanical engineering and metal production and processing occupations |1,400 Motor vehicle repair and maintenance occupations |800 Non-metal processing occupations |900 Printing occupations |700 Clothing and textiles manufacturing occupations |10,200 Security service occupations |<1> Others |5,700 |------- Total |169,500 <1> Less than 50 trainees.
Mr. Cope : At 31 October there were around 120,000 YTS places unfilled nationally, about 7,000 in the northern region and 395 in the local authority districts of Derwentside and Wear valley. It is not possible to provide separate figures for the constituency of north-west Durham.
Mr. Cope : Of the 396,100 young people in training on YTS at 31 March 1988, the latest available date, the number of young people who identified themselves as of black or Asian origin was 10,966 (2.8 per cent.). Number and participant rates for ethnic minority trainees on employment training is not yet available.
Column 146North-West constituency and (c) nationally moved into full-time employment at the conclusion of their training for each of the last available five years.
Mr. Cope : The information is not available in the form requested. Results for leavers from the northern region, the county of Durham and Great Britain, where available, are shown in the attached table. A substantial number of the remainder go into full-time education or training (16 per cent. in the northern region 1987-88).
Percentage of YTS leavers in full-time employment-northern region, County Durham and Great Britain figures |1983-84 |1984-85 |1985-86 |1986-87 |1987-88 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern region Total number of leavers |n/a |<1>27,000|<1>30,000|<1>25,000|<1>23,000 Percentage of leavers in full-time employment |n/a |<2>42 |<2>40 |<2>42 |<2>46 County Durham Total number of leavers |n/a |n/a |<3> |<3> |<3> Percentage of leavers in full-time employment |n/a |n/a |<2>41 |<2>43 |<2>47 Great Britain Total number of leavers |128,000 |368,000 |418,000 |356,000 |324,000 Percentage of leavers in full-time employment |<2>49 |<2>55 |<2>53 |<2>56 |<2>57 <1> Estimated. <2> Information extracted from 100 per cent. follow-up survey. <3> Information not readily available. Note: County Durham figures relate to the Training Agency's Darlington Area, the best available approximation.
65. Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to meet his European Economic Community counterparts to discuss the levels of unemployment in the Community ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The next meeting of the Council of Employment Ministers will be on 16 December. The main agenda items are in the area of health and safety at work. We will, of course, be taking every opportunity to raise employment issues and the contribution that the single market can make to employment growth.
Mr. Cope : This Department already collects information from a variety of sources on the training opportunities for young people who enter employment at 16. The principal sources at national level are the surveys undertaken through the youth cohort study and specifically commissioned research into vocational training standards in particular occupations.
The best local source of information is from the local authority careers service.
Mr. Cope : It is for employers primarily to ensure the level of apprenticeship training that their industry needs. The Government encourage them to adopt cost-effective practices, in particular training to standards instead of wasteful timeserving, and also make a substantial contribution to support apprenticeship training through YTS.
The extension of YTS to a two-year scheme has increased the opportunities for all 16 and 17-year-old school leavers to benefit from the structured training and work experience previously only available to those undertaking formal apprenticeships.
69. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what arrangements his Department is making for applications to the European social fund as part of the reformed European structural funds ; and what action he proposes to take in regard to consultations with local authorities in drawing up the plans to be submitted to Brussels by 30 June 1989.
Mr. Cope : The European Commission is currently consulting member states about how best to implement the objectives of the reformed structural funds, including the European social fund. In the light of these consultations my Department is considering the arrangements which will need to be made and guidance will be issued as soon as possible to all the parties concerned, including local authorities.
70. Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any proposals to increase the number of women school leavers who enter technical training courses ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 147technician training or other training courses in Technical or Information technology subjects. The training agency policies reflect this, including YTS special women-only courses, reserved place schemes, Local action plans and new initial training arrangements to help young women to enter training which is unconventional to their gender.
The technical and vocational education initiative which is not being extended across all education authorities will also enable girls aged 14 to 18 to experience technology, and encourage them to obtain skills and qualifications of more direct relevance to working life, while still at school or college.
Mr. Lee : As part of the Government's action for cities campaign, my Department is supporting the English Tourist Board's inner city initiative, whose aim is to encourage the development of inner-city tourism potential. The board has also supported the great English city breaks promotion, which has so far led to the sale of 75,700 bed-nights in the 14 cities involved.
Mr. Lee : The number of working days lost through stoppages of work due to industrial disputes in October 1978 was 1,857,000. The most recently available figure relates to September 1988, for which it is provisionally estimated that 1,210,000 working days were lost ; the October 1988 figure will be published on Thursday 15 December in the labour market statistics press notice.