Occupancy of Government training centres is now close to maximum capacity and few places remain unfilled. Waiting lists for the more popular trades reflect the substantial increase in demand for training but these vary by region.
Yes, Sir. The average occupancy of Government training centres has increased from about 80 per cent. in July last year to over 90 per cent. at the present time. The demand for training has nearly doubled since last September, and this is a tribute to the efforts which the Government have made to publicise this scheme.
I share the hon. Gentleman's concern. It is our aim to reduce the waiting period wherever possible, but certain trades are particularly popular. The document "Training for the Future" envisages expansion to 100,000 trainees a year.
Does the Minister realise that in South Monmouthshire several thousands are unemployed and many more face redundancy, and that there is an urgent need to restore faith? Will he bear in mind the report of the Engineering Industry Training Board which was presented to the Secretary of State last year and which points out that there was a 20 per cent. cut back in training in the engineering industry last winter? Will he get a move on urgently?
Yes, Sir. There is no reluctance on our part. We are pursuing our efforts vigorously, but the right site has to be obtained and this cannot be done overnight. Wales has the second highest number in the country of Gov- ernment training centre places per head of the population, but we need a training centre in the hon. Gentleman's area.