At the end of May 1988 there were 371,400 young people training on two-year YTS. Fifty-four per cent. of trainees entering their second year on the scheme have already gained a vocational qualification. The latest survey results show that when young people leave YTS, 75 per cent. go into jobs or into further education and training.
For the Hounslow local authority district, which includes the Feltham constituency, the YTS follow-up survey results show that of those who left the youth training scheme between April 1986 and December 1987, 80 per cent. went into employment and a further 8 per cent. went into further education or training.
Is the Minister aware that in the northern region 40 per cent. of youngsters are on YTS and yet only 10 per cent. obtain full-time work when they leave? The northern region has the highest number of youngsters going back on to the dole with—the Minister can shake his head but these are true facts—more than 30 per cent. going back on to the dole compared with 12 per cent. in the south-east. Does the Minister think that the training that the youngsters are getting is worth while, or is YTS a complete and utter waste of time?
Most of the young people who go on the training say that it is worth while when we ask them at the end of their training, and that applies in all parts of the country. I cannot confirm the figures that the hon. Gentleman gave at the beginning of his question, but they did not sound correct to me.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the figures that he has given the House today will be warmly welcomed in Chelmsford, where employers are suffering from a worker famine and they see this as a commitment to investment in the future? Is he also aware that one of the major employers in Chelmsford, the English Electric Valve company, is having great difficulty in finding employees for 300 places because there are not enough skilled people to take on? The Government's programme will not help that company in the immediate future, but it lays the foundations that will ensure that there is no recurrence of the problem in the future.
The Government know that the Labour party supports all training measures that meet national training needs in a serious way, but we find today's statement on youth training amazingly complacent, when Sainsburys are pulling out of YTS in many parts of the country and the youth training board points out that 100,000 youngsters—16 to 17-year-olds—a year go into dead-end jobs with no training at all. What are the youth training board and the Government doing about that?
An increasing number of youngsters are going into youth training and getting qualifications on the youth training scheme. Sainsburys is organising its own scheme. That is fair enough; it is entitled to do so. I am not quite sure what the hon. Gentleman meant by the remark s at the beginning of his question. If he was saying that he, and Labour Front-Bench Members are in favour of employment training, I am glad to hear it.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the antagonism displayed by various Opposition Members to the YTS scheme explains, to a large extent, why in the northern areas that they represent YTS has not gained such acceptance or met with such success in bringing people full-time or even part-time employment? Are they not responsible for the fact that people are not properly employed in their areas?