Apprentice Training School, Woolwich

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th April 1963.

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Photo of Sir Isaac Pitman Sir Isaac Pitman , Bath 12:00 am, 10th April 1963

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) what consultations he had before deciding to discontinue the Apprentice Training School at Woolwich;

(2) what plans he has for utilising the valuable specialist equipment and experienced staff for training craftsmen at the Apprentice School, Woolwich, at a time when school leavers are more than usually numerous and the needs for such training are great.

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour to see whether we can arrange for the Apprentice Training Shop to be used by non-Government apprentices. I would like in this way to be able to make use in some measure of the staff and facilities of the workshop. There are however practical difficulties—for example, questions of security arise because the shop is in the middle of a defence establishment—but we shall of course do our best to overcome these.

Photo of Sir Isaac Pitman Sir Isaac Pitman , Bath

While greatly welcoming that decision, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will consult also with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education? One of the finest technical colleges in the country is there, and colleges of further education in the adjoining areas are very good indeed. Would my right hon. Friend consult the Minister of Education to see if he might supplement the work that is being done there?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

Certainly, Sir. I want, however, to make it clear that I have not discontinued the apprentice training school. I have simply decided to suspend the normal intake for one year.

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

While I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman can solve the security problem, may I ask whether he would agree to pass on the means of solving it to the First Lord of the Admiralty who seems to be having difficulty in solving a similar problem at Greenwich?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

All these problems are very difficult, and if I can solve them it will be only because the security aspect is not too big.