I have consulted the Scottish Ambulance Service. It is its policy to recruit as drivers and attendants young men who already have considerable driving experience and are sufficiently mature to deal with the emergencies which arise in the course of their work. These considerations appear to rule out any apprenticeship scheme for the younger school leaver, but I am asking the Ambulance Service to look at the possibility of employing one or two more apprentices in the Central Repair Workshop, Glasgow.
Would my hon. Friend bear in mind that the training of ambulance attendants covers a number of years? Would she also remember that the handling of human bodies and the maintenance and care of equipment take years of training and exercise? Are these not grounds for introducing an apprenticeship scheme which would employ a number of our school leavers who are at present unable to find jobs?
My hon. Friend will appreciate that this is done at the moment by way of in-service training. Also, it is essential that ambulances should at all times be driven by experienced persons. He will know the kinds of emergencies which sometimes arise. For example, babies can be born in ambulances. It would not be appropriate to employ young people in this kind of way as part of their training.