asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give an estimate of the cost of the engineering cadet scheme; whether he is satisfied that the educational qualifications demanded from applicants are commensurate with the liberal terms offered as compared with university scholarships; has he considered the danger that the exclusion of youths already employed in engineering may keep out the best natural engineering talent; how many applications have been received to date; and what educational authorities were consulted before fixing the educational qualifications of applicants?
The engineering cadetship scheme for training boys aged 16, 17, 18 and 19 for technical commissions in the Services was planned in consultation with my right hon. Friends the President of the Board of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland, with full regard to the issues mentioned by my hon. Friend. We are satisfied that the terms offered are appropriate, having regard to the nature of the course, the qualifications required, and the fact that most of the boys concerned are already wage earners. State scholars at the Universities obtain allowances no less favourable by applying for bursary allowances. The scheme is designed to reduce the demands of the Services upon the engineering industry, but boys who become qualified for technical commissions while employed in the industry have an opportunity to obtain such commissions. Since the announcement of the scheme a fortnight ago some 6,000 applications have been received. I do not propose to announce the number of cadetships to be granted.