We are working with the Manpower Services Commission to build up the quality of training on YTS so that every trainee will he working towards a recognised vocational qualification from an appropriate examining body. From April 1988 all YTS providers will have to meet the stringent standards laid down for approved training organisations. And the training standards advisory service now provides quality audits of YTS schemes.
Does the Minister recognise that there are great regional variations both in the quality of the YTS schemes on offer and in the number of young people who succeed in obtaining jobs at the end of their training, and that in the north we suffer on both counts? What will the Minister do to redress the balance and ensure that young people in the north are given the same opportunities as exist in other regions?
When my hon. Friend has a moment to do so, will he look at the Labour party's 1979 election manifesto, which boasted that the then youth oppor-tunities programme was the finest training programme in Europe? Why is it that Opposition Members thought that that was a fine training programme when its much improved successor, the YTS, is constantly whinged about?
Surely the Minister knows, as we know in Yorkshire, that one gets owt for nowt? Unless we spend more money and resources on youth training, it will never make good the skills deficiencies that arc emerging throughout British industry and that are preventing our manufacturing base from recovering to the extent that it should.
Will my hon. Friend, who did an excellent job in his last appointment, as I am sure he will in this, ensure that one defect in the quality of YTS is remedied, namely, that if a young person is one day over the specified birth date when he enters the scheme he is kicked out of the two-year scheme after only one year in it?
Does the Minister accept that within the nursing profession there is concern about the impact of YTS? First, it cuts across the Government's stated objective of providing more professional training within nursing. Secondly, the supervision that is required to ensure the required quality of training takes experienced nurses away from their prime job of looking after patients
I do not think that concern about YTS coming into the National Health Service is justified. We are doing our best to introduce YTS into many parts of the public service, and that is how it should be. To improve the quality of YTS we have introduced approved training organisations and the other measures.