Royal Naval Dockyard (Technical Colleges)

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3 December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West 12:00, 3 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the future of Royal Naval dockyard technical colleges.

Photo of Dr David Owen Dr David Owen , Plymouth, Sutton

I have requested formal discussions with the local authorities concerned in the Portsmouth area on the possibilty of transferring the responsibility for the education of dockyard apprentices to the local education authorities. I have no plans to effect a similar transfer of responsibilities at Devonport, Chatham and Rosyth, but certain organisational changes are being considered with the aim of achieving full integration of educational and practical training.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that there is naturally a degree of anxiety amongst the staff at the technical college at Portsmouth Dockyard about their future status? Could he reassure them with all possible speed that a quick decision will be reached about their future so that they can make appropriate plans for their personal lives?

Photo of Dr David Owen Dr David Owen , Plymouth, Sutton

The detailed terms of transfer will be a matter for negotiation, and every effort will be made to safeguard the position of the staff. As to timing, I hope to complete those negotiations with the local education authorities by Easter, 1970, in time for the transfer to take place by September, 1970.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind the tremendous service which these colleges have done not only to the Royal Navy but to many other technical establishments outside the Service?

Photo of Dr David Owen Dr David Owen , Plymouth, Sutton

I certainly pay tribute to the very valuable service they have given to the local community and to the Navy.