At the end of January 1988 there were 413,000 young people in training on YTS.
Results from the Manpower Services Commission's follow-up survey of YTS leavers show that, of those young people who left YTS schemes between April 1986 and August 1987, 60 per cent. were in a job and 14 per cent. were in further training or education when surveyed within a year after leaving.
Has my hon. Friend heard it said that YTS schemes are a source of cheap labour for employers, but do not the figures he has given deny that? Will he always ensure that the educational and training contents of schemes are well up to standard? Will he give the figures for Ealing in terms of YTS trainees in work?
My hon. Friend is right to point out that some people still seek to criticise YTS by suggesting that it is no more than cheap labour for employers. Anyone in that frame of mind has only to talk to many families throughout the country to find out that that is not the position. My hon. Friend is entirely right to say that standards of training must be maintained within the YTS, and they certainly are maintained. As for his own constituency, the figures are even more encouraging than the national average. In Ealing, 64 per cent. of YTS trainees went into jobs and 14 per cent. went into some other form of training.
Is the Minister not being a little smug? Should we all not be concerned if 40 per cent. of our young people are unemployed after two years' training on YTS? Given that in some parts of the country the proportion is very much higher, should not the Minister be making plans to provide work opportunities for those young people? We know that in the Minister's target group for the new adult training scheme. among 18 to 24-year-olds, 25 per cent. have O-levels, 20 per cent. have A-levels and 6 per cent. have degrees, yet they are long-term unemployed. Does the Minister not realise that what is needed is not just more training but jobs for young people so that they can make a worthwhile contribution to their local communities?
I might have had slightly more patience with the hon. Lady had she not used every other occasion to denigrate and rubbish the YTS scheme. The figures are an average, and obviously an average is a combination of high and low target averages. On average, more than 74 per cent. of people go on to jobs, further training or education. By definition, if they had not been on the YTS scheme, presumably they would not have been able to get a job. Both sides of the House ought to be united by the recognition of what is being done for young people, in the hon. Lady's constituency and in mine. She should welcome that, not try to rubbish it.