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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 25 Jan 1967

Vol. 62 No. 7

Industrial Training Bill, 1965: Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The object of this Bill can be stated in simple terms: it is to provide for improved training in industrial and commercial activities through the establishment of a representative training authority—An Chomhairle Traenála —which would have adequate powers to tackle the difficulties involved. It is a regrettable fact that training has been treated as a Cinderella by many industrial and business concerns. There have, of course, been notable exceptions and it would be unfair of me not to pay tribute to them. These progressive firms, whether large or small, who have given high priority to staff training have reaped the benefits of increased productivity and better staff relations. But, as I say, the overall picture is not bright. Apathy or rigidity in the general approach to training is still too prevalent. Too often industrial training is not recognised by managements as an important factor in enhancing their production potential and so it is relegated to the end of the list of investment priorities if not completely ignored. One of the greatest assets of any country lies in the skills of its people. The development of these skills is of national importance in promoting industrial expansion against a background of increasing competition, and also in offering every man and woman reasonable opportunities of achieving greater satisfaction in their work and a better position in life. This Bill is designed to ensure that no reasonable effort will be spared in stimulating investment of time, energy and money in developing the skills and knowledge of our most valuable asset —people.

The successful operation of any law dealing with industrial training depends to a large extent on the wholehearted co-operation of the parties mainly concerned—the employers and workers. It is, therefore, a source of satisfaction for me to be able to inform the Seanad that this Bill is an agreed one. After the Second Stage of the Bill had been passed by Dáil Éireann, a Joint Committee composed of representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and examined the Bill in detail and made a number of agreed recommendations for amendments. These recommendations were accepted by me and appropriate amendments were passed during the Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann.

Consequently, the Bill now before this House represents the agreed views of Government, employers and workers as to the best approach for dealing with the problems of industrial and commercial training. This is a most gratifying situation which reflects considerable credit on the representatives who participated so diligently in the work of the Joint Committee. It is, I hope, a happy augury of our future success in solving these problems.

It might be of assistance to Senators if I were to outline briefly the main provisions of the Bill. The Bill applies to all activities of industry and commerce, including trades and occupations, but it does not apply to professional occupations nor does it apply to primary production activities in agriculture, horticulture and fishing.

Activities of primary production in agriculture, horticulture and fishing have been excluded because training in these spheres is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and because we do not think that this type of training, important though it undoubtedly is, could be tackled effectively by a body set up to look after industrial and commercial training. I regard the term "activities of primary production" as covering such matters as the planting and reaping of crops, the tending of cattle and other livestock, the production of milk and so on. The secondary processing of agricultural products would come within the scope of the Bill, and An Chomhairle Traenála will be able to concern itself with training in this sphere in so far as it may be necessary for it to do so. A point which I want to stress particularly is that An Chomhairle Traenála will have responsibility for training agricultural workers for employment in work outside of agriculture.

An Chomhairle Traenála, the new training authority which will be established under the Bill, will consist of a Chairman and 13 ordinary members. As in the case of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959, the Chairman and members of An Chomhairle will be appointed by the Minister. The Bill provides that if the Chairman is appointed in a whole-time capacity, he will act as Chief Officer of An Chomhairle, and that if the Chairman is part-time, a full-time Chief Officer will be appointed as well. It seems to me to be desirable to include this provision so as to allow flexibility in relation to executive responsibility. Five of the ordinary members will represent workers and will be nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. A further five members will represent employers and will be selected from amongst persons nominated by employers' organisations. One member will be appointed, following consultation with the Minister for Education, to represent educational interests. The other two ordinary members will be appointed by the Minister for Labour and the intention is that one of these should have practical experience of industrial education and training. It will be seen, therefore, that An Chomhairle will be representative of all the interests which have a stake in, and will be affected by, measures to improve and modernise our systems of training.

It is proposed that An Chomhairle will have power to recruit its own staff a large number of whom will be technical and specialised. Section 12 (3) of the Bill provides that the remuneration and allowances for expenses of the staff will be subject to the consent of the Minister for Labour and the Minister for Finance. The purpose of this provision is to aim at securing uniformity of salary scales in State and semi-State employment. Objections were raised to this provision during the Committee Stage of the Bill in the Dáil. Briefly, these objections are that past experience has shown that detailed Departmental control over staff remuneration operates against the recruitment and retention of staff of the right calibre; that considerable delays would occur in the recruitment of staff and that An Chomhairle would be placed in an unfavourable position vis-à-vis other State bodies which have a considerable degree of freedom in the recruitment and remuneration of staff. In the circumstances, I have undertaken to reconsider the provision to see if the objections can be met either in whole or in part. In this reconsideration I shall, of course, take into account the views of Senators.

The functions of An Chomhairle are set out in section 9 of the Bill. It will be the duty of An Chomhairle to provide, and to promote the provision of, training for persons in any activity of industry or commerce. An Chomhairle will be expected to give priority to training needs in the industrial sphere and I believe that it will be largely occupied with this task for some years to come. Consequently, An Chomhairle may not be in a position, for a considerable time, to do much in the field of training for commercial activities.

A further point I would make is that An Chomhairle will not, at any stage, be duplicating training schemes already in existence. In fact, subsection (2) of section 9 of the Bill places an obligation on An Chomhairle to take account of existing courses before it provides new ones of its own. In particular, An Chomhairle will not be taking over, duplicating or setting up courses in opposition to those already provided under our educational system. Senators are aware of the excellent work being done by Vocational Education Committees in the field of industrial and commercial education. It will be the aim of An Chomhairle, in consultation with the Department of Education, to ensure that the fullest possible use is made of both existing and new facilities provided under the educational system in the interests of harmony, economy and the optimum use of training resources which are likely to be in short supply.

In the same way, An Chomhairle will not take over existing schemes which are being run successfully by other organisations. Its aim will be to help such organisations to do a better job. For instance, the Council for Education, Recruitment and Training in the Hotel Industry have been doing first-class work in their field. This Council are representative of workers, employers and An Bord Fáilte, and are financed on a tripartite basis. There is clearly scope for co-operation between An Chomhairle and the Council but it obviously would not make sense for An Chomhairle, which will have many urgent tasks to perform, to engage in work which is being done successfully by other bodies in a specialised field. These comments apply with equal force to other organisations which provide training courses. I have in mind, in particular, the excellent work being performed by the Irish Management Institute. An Chomhairle will not themselves undertake management training, but there will undoubtedly be many opportunities for co-operation and co-ordination between An Chomhairle and the Institute.

Briefly, the aim of An Chomhairle should be to provide, or secure the provision of, training where it is neglected, to co-operate with other bodies and organisations to secure any necessary improvements in training schemes already in existence, and to endeavour to ensure that existing training facilities, both within and outside our educational system, are utilised to the fullest possible extent.

Subject to what I have just said, it is the intention that An Chomhairle should be empowered to concern themselves with all types of industrial and commercial training including:—

the training of apprentices; the retraining of adults to skilled level by accelerated vocational training methods; the training and retraining of operatives; the training of unemployed and redundant workers who have the aptitude to acquire new skills; refresher training for workers whose skills need to be improved or brought up-to-date; the training of agricultural workers for other occupations than agriculture; advance training of workers for new industrial projects; the training, where necessary, of instructors, supervisors and technicians.

Normally, An Chomhairle will proceed by bringing an industry under the scope of the Act by means of an industrial training order under section 21. Before doing so, An Chomhairle must consult with employers' and workers' organisations, and make other necessary inquiries. They will then set up an industrial training committee for the industry. This Committee must be representative of workers and employers and of the educational and other interests concerned. Their function will be to advise and assist An Chomhairle in dealing with the training problems of the industry. There is power to declare an existing organisation to be a training committee for the purposes of the Bill. This has been included so as to avoid, where possible, the proliferation of representative committees.

It is intended that An Chomhairle should, in consultation with the appropriate industrial training committee, tackle the various training problems of the industry as a whole. They would deal with the initial training of all workers in the industry including apprentices and operatives. They would deal with retraining of workers and with refresher training. They would decide whether accelerated vocational training methods should be introduced to overcome shortages of skill. They would tackle, where necessary, the problem of training instructors and supervisors. They would pay special attention to the training needs of agricultural workers entering an industrial environment, and to the retraining for new jobs of workers who have become, or who are expected to become, redundant. I believe that it is only by co-ordinating the various parts of the training programme of an industry into a coherent whole that worthwhile results can be achieved. It is the best way of providing the flexible system of training which is necessary to ensure that our industries will have the services of skilled men and women.

The Bill provides for the repeal of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959 and for the transfer to An Chomhairle Traenála of the functions assigned to An Cheard Chomhairle and the apprenticeship committees established under the Act of 1959. The new authority will have powers, similar to those contained in the 1959 Act, to make legally enforceable rules governing all aspects of the recruitment and training of apprentices. The orders, rules, et cetera, made under the 1959 Act will remain in force until amended or revoked by the new authority and the apprenticeship committees established under that Act will operate, for the time being, as industrial training committees under section 22 of this Bill.

There is a point about apprenticeship and accelerated vocational training which I should like to put in perspective. There is no question of abolishing the apprenticeship system as the main means of producing skilled workers. Neither is there any question of flooding the skilled trades with adult trainees. The apprenticeship system must be expanded and, despite the work which has been done over the past few years, must be further improved and modernised. It will remain the principal way of producing skilled workers, but it will no longer be the only way of doing so.

I do not think that anyone can doubt that, despite improvement, the apprenticeship system is rather inflexible in certain respects. For example, it is inadequate for dealing with unexpected or unforeseen shortages of skill. Such shortages can arise for a variety of reasons such as restrictions on intake in the past, the expansion of existing industries, or the establishment of new ones. Since it takes some years for an apprentice to become a skilled worker, the system cannot cope with shortages which emerge suddenly. But shortages of this sort can be damaging to the economy in a number of ways. They impose a definite restriction on economic expansion and give rise to the inflationary pressures often associated with full employment.

Accordingly, the new authority will have power to provide training courses, probably in special centres, using accelerated vocational methods for training adults. Such courses have been operated successfully for many years in Britain, in Northern Ireland and in many Continental countries. It is hoped that the provision of such courses will help in overcoming shortages of skill and, at the same time, will give men who have the necessary ability and aptitude, an opportunity of raising their levels of skill.

I want to emphasise again that the object of these courses will be to supplement, not to replace, the apprenticeship system. The nature of the courses and the number of adults to receive training in them will be determined by An Chomhairle Traenála, a representative body, after full consultation with industrial training committees, which will also be fully representative of all interests concerned. Furthermore, An Chomhairle and the committees will be responsible also for apprentice training and, therefore, will be in a position to strike a fair balance from time to time, between the number of skilled men to be produced by apprenticeship and the number to be produced by accelerated vocational training methods.

As I see it, An Chomhairle will seek general agreement on the way this problem should be handled. I am satisfied that the trade union movement as a whole will deal with the question in a responsible way bearing in mind the national interest and the good of individual workers.

There should be no great difficulty, in the majority of cases, in reaching agreement on the intake of apprentices and on the numbers of adults to be trained by accelerated vocational training methods. But we have to provide for the possibility of obstruction by vested interests. We have provided, therefore, in sections 39 and 43, that it shall be an offence, punishable by a maximum fine of £1,000, for any person to prevent or obstruct an arrangement made by An Chomhairle relating to the intake of apprentices or to the employment of a person who has successfully undergone training in a course provided or approved by An Chomhairle.

In view of what I said earlier, I believe that these provisions will be seldom used and I hope they will not have to be used at all. But we must insist that the development of our economy should not be retarded by avoidable or artificially-created shortages of skill and, if we are to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds setting up training centres, we must make sure, in the interest of the community, that the workers trained in them are allowed to work at the jobs for which they have been trained.

It is only in relation to apprentices that An Chomhairle can make legally enforceable rules. So far as the training of other workers is concerned An Chomhairle will proceed by way of recommendations under section 9. An Chomhairle will be able to ensure that these recommendations are implemented throughout industry by means of the system of levies and grants under sections 19 and 17.

There is a need to stimulate greater interest in training amongst employers generally and to spread the cost of training more equitably amongst all employers in an industry. At present, many employers who invest heavily in the training of their workers are subsidising those who are doing little or no training. The Bill provides that An Chomhairle may raise training levies from the employers in an industry which they have brought within the scope of the Act by means of an industrial training order. These levies will be designed to equalise the training costs of employers in the industry. The money received from levies raised from each industry will be kept in separate accounts and will be paid back to industry by means of grants under section 17. The basis of the grants will be that employers who meet their training responsibilities in full will be refunded the full amount of the levy; those who do more than their share of training will get a grant which will exceed the amount of the levy paid; those who do less than their fair share of training will get a grant of an amount lower than the levy paid; those who do no training at all will not receive a grant and will suffer in full the loss of the levy paid.

Before making a levy order, An Chomhairle must consult with the appropriate industrial training Committee. There must also be consultations with the Committee about the basis on which the compensatory grants should be paid. It is clear that the grants must relate to the amount and quality of training given, and that account will have to be taken of the extent to which recommendations under section 9 are being implemented by an employer. The making and amendment of a levy order will be subject to the consent of the Minister for Labour. It will be possible to exempt certain employers from a levy order where this is considered desirable. Where a levy order is made, an appeal tribunal must be established by the Minister to determine appeals by any employers who wish to appeal against an assessment to the levy.

Apart from making grants to offset levies An Chomhairle may, under section 17, make grants or loans to persons providing approved courses or other training facilities. An Chomhairle may arrange with other persons to provide training courses on its behalf and may make grants towards the expenses arising. It may also make grants to employers who undertake the training or retraining of unemployed or redundant workers at its request.

It is intended that, in time, all grants for industrial training should be channelled through the one agency. For this purpose, section 18 provides that, on a date or dates to be determined, An Chomhairle will take over the functions of An Foras Tionscal and the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Ltd., in relation to the making of grants for the retraining of workers in new industrial undertakings.

The Bill has been drafted so as to concentrate executive powers in the hands of a representative authority. At the same time, it is designed to ensure that there will be full consultation, in normal circumstances, with the interests directly concerned with, or likely to be affected by, the decisions of the authority. However, An Chomhairle will be able to exercise all its functions, except those relating to apprenticeship and levies, without first making an industrial training order and establishing an industrial training committee. It is clearly desirable that An Chomhairle should be in a position to move quickly when circumstances seem to warrant this course. It may be necessary for An Chomhairle to mitigate the effects of redundancy in an industry by training or retraining arrangements before it has had the opportunity of following the normal procedure. Again, one of the first things An Chomhairle will probably have to do is to institute experimental training and retraining arrangements in advance of bringing industries formally within the scope of the legislation.

There is provision for the financing of An Chomhairle by means of non-repayable grants. It is clear that the effective discharge of its functions will involve An Chomhairle in considerable expenditure but it is not possible at present to give any estimate of what this is likely to be. We do know that the capital cost in Northern Ireland of building and equipping an industrial training centre capable of handling at the same time 300-600 trainees, depending on the occupations involved, is of the order of £500,000. We know, too, that they are spending close to £800,000 a year in the North on industrial training. So, despite the beneficial effects which we hope for from the levy-grant system, it is clear that if we make a major effort in this field, we are also going to incur heavy expenditure. This we are prepared to do because we recognise the key role which training has to play in the future development of our economy.

I do not think that anyone will quarrel with the principles underlying this Bill or with the objectives which it sets out to attain. I am confident that the Bill now before the House provides the machinery for tackling the job of providing adequately for our training needs. The successful operation of that machinery will depend on the voluntary co-operation of employers and workers. The manner in which these interests have co-operated in framing the Bill leads me to believe that there will be continued co-operation in the administration of the measure and a very substantial contribution will thus be made towards the effective development of our manpower resources.

Firstly, I should like to welcome the Minister on what I think is his first appearance in this House as Minister for Labour. Secondly, I should like to welcome the Bill dealing with industrial training. It is certainly welcome to this House as an improvement on the 1959 Apprenticeship Act and as a first move towards the implementation of a manpower policy. Whether the Bill, as proposed to us by the Minister, is adequate for all aspects of training as required in this country is more doubtful and is the question which we must discuss while the Bill is before us.

The first thing one must say is that it is extremely difficult to discuss the general principles of this Bill while the members of the House remain in ignorance of the Minister's proposals about redundancy and resettlement. The Minister, I am sure, is well aware by now of the doctrine we have been preaching on this side of the House for several years past — that a manpower policy to be successful must be an integrated one. We have before us a factual Bill, a Bill which deals with training only, which deals with one principle only of a manpower policy. It is, therefore, very difficult for us to discuss this while we remain in ignorance of the Minister's proposals in regard to redundancy. This concentration on training may be liable to distort the views which the Minister and the House may take of the whole proposal.

We had in the various interdepartmental committees dealing with manpower a great concentration on training to the exclusion of other facets. Those committees made administrative arrangements which certainly are not acceptable to those of us in the Fine Gael Party who are interested in a manpower policy. It is very hard to discuss the general principles of training in the absence of any information regarding the different facets of a manpower policy. We have no information about a planned policy in this regard. A discussion on this Bill is of limited use without a placement and redundancy policy. The Minister has such policies in embryo but so far he has not been able to bring them before the public or before the Members of the Oireachtas. This, indeed, is a pity.

The Bill we are discussing today was brought into Dáil Éireann in December, 1965. Here we are well over a year later discussing it and there is still no word of the Minister's proposals in regard to the other sections of a manpower policy. Nevertheless, I take it that the Minister wishes to have this Bill and wishes to have it enacted as legislation right away. One can understand his sense of urgency in this regard. So, we must take the Bill as it stands. We must examine the Bill in isolation. This means that our discussion must be in a certain sense an imperfect one. What, then, is the nature of the Bill we have before us today? Reading through this Bill, one quickly realises that, except for a small number of sections, it is a re-enactment of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959.

We have in this Industrial Training Bill some 47 sections, 40 of which correspond to those of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959. We have in section 9 of the Bill dealing with training some new departures and in sections 17 to 20 of the Bill are some further new departures which are applicable both to apprenticeship and to other training. Section 9, of course, enlarges the scope of the Bill tremendously. Nevertheless, I should just like for a start to discuss the relationship of this Bill to the Apprenticeship Act, 1959. We have, in fact, the Apprenticeship Bill, 1959 repealed and re-enacted with a new nomenclature. An Cheard Chomhairle of the 1959 Act becomes An Chomhairle Traenála.

Here one must pause and say that if the Irish language cannot produce a better title than "An Chomhairle Traenála" for goodness sake let us call it by its English name. The violation by this word of the rule of "caol le caol agus leathan le leathan", which applied to those of us who were educated years ago, makes it quite an inappropriate title, and I wish the Minister would try to do better than "An Chomhairle Traenála". We have similar changes of nomenclature: a designated trade in the 1959 Act becomes a designated activity, but apprenticeship in the 1959 Act becomes an industrial training committee. The Chairman and Director of An Cheard Chomhairle become, perhaps one, perhaps two people under the present Bill, the Chairman and the Chief Officer of An Chomhairle Traenála.

And to complete the picture a Parliamentary Secretary becomes Minister for Health.

We had in the Bill introudced in the Dáil at least some changes in the number of members but I notice that the 13 members of An Cheard Chomhairle who were to be replaced by six members now are to be replaced by 13 members of An Chomhairle Traenála.

We can look at this as an Apprenticeship (Amendment) Bill, because that is what it is in one sense. But let us look at it from another point of view. How did the 1959 Act work out? How did An Cheard Chomhairle work out in practice? We can say straight away that a good job was done. An Cheard Chomhairle was set up in April, 1960 and its basic statement of policy in regard to training and apprenticeship was issued in December of that year. There has been since then an essential reform of apprenticeship training and a sound foundation has been laid for a skilled labour force. On the occasion of the passing of this Bill we should pay tribute to the members of An Cheard Chomhairle, the officials who worked under it, the members of the national committees of the various trades and the local advisory committees.

We hope, in regard to the apprenticeship aspects of this Bill, that this improvement will continue and, judging by the Minister's introductory speech, it is his hope also that we shall not just be satisfied with the progress made but that we shall continue our attempts to extend and modernise the apprenticeship system in this country.

This is a process that has been going on in all countries and perhaps we being so close to Britain do not realise the extent to which apprenticeship is embodied in the training systems of other countries. In Western Germany 89 per cent of all skilled employees under 18 years do an apprenticeship course of one type or another lasting anything from one to three and a half years. In Germany and Switzerland 68 per cent of all boys follow an apprenticeship scheme, not necessarily training for a trade which will be their ultimate trade.

There is a recognition that young people leaving school who are not going to the third level of education need a system of training which will be for them on introduction to the adult world of work. Apprenticeship is not merely the learning of the skills of a particular trade. It is a gradual initiation of the adolescent into the world of work.

We must begin to look at apprenticeship as a manner of training the young person and not merely a means for providing people with particular skills. We hope that in the future An Chomhairle Traenála in dealing with aspects of apprenticeship will keep this modern development in view as well as the various changes occurring in other countries in the manner of instructing and the methodology of teaching, which is so much a feature of modern apprenticeship training in Europe.

An Cheard Chomhairle have been successful but no change has been made other than from what was in a sense a policing activity in regard to apprenticeship to one of concentration and persuasion. They have been particularly succesful in this and I hope that their expertise in this regard will be carried on by An Chomhairle Traenála.

Apart from the question of bringing the Apprenticeship Act up to date by minor amendment, there are some sections in the present Bill which do not appear in the Apprenticeship Act. Some of these are sections which would have had to appear even if we were only amending the Apprenticeship Act, 1959. In particular, it would have been necessary, even if we were not going beyond apprenticeship training to full industrial training, to have some system of levies introduced. One of the outstanding difficulties in regard to the operation of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959, has been the problem of finding suitable work places for apprentices. In some industries in this respect they have been carrying a great deal more than their fair share of the training burden. From the point of view of the smooth working of what the Oireachtas agreed to in the 1959 Act this matter of levies would also be necessary.

Sections 17 to 20 are new sections and are, indeed, very welcome. The extension of the provisions of the Bill to other than apprentices is also welcome. When we look beyond apprenticeship training to what the Bill might be able to do in other fields it is necessary for us to consider very carefully what the Minister proposes to do. He told us that An Chomhairle Treanála will be responsible under this Bill for the training of operatives with non-apprenticeship training in the skilled trades and for the training of special groups such as redundant workers, workers leaving agriculture, workers required for new projects and for the refresher training of workers in certain respects. They would also be responsible for the training of instructors, technicians or supervisors. One must say again in regard to the training of these special groups that it is particularly difficult to discuss the Bill in the absence of the Minister's redundancy proposals. Nevertheless, we can have certain general discussion on the problem.

In this regard, there are certain points which I should like to draw up for discussion both on the Second Stage of the Bill and again on the Committee Stage. The first of these is that while the Bill, in section 9, allows An Chomhairle Traenála to make provision for special groups, I feel it would be better if this Bill were drafted in such a way that there was a highlighting of the special problems that An Chomhairle may find in regard to certain groups. In other words, while it is all right to put down a general provision here, one should put in directives and specific powers which would not affect the general powers so that An Chomhairle Traenála could make special provision for what the Americans call "disadvantaged groups", the older worker who needs to be retrained, the handicapped worker who may require to be trained, all groups of workers who may require special consideration. I do not think it is enough just to give the global powers. There is a danger here that An Chomhairle Traenála, which will certainly have plenty to do in carrying on this work for apprenticeship, in carrying on the training of the ordinary groups, may well find themselves not giving special attention to these groups. Their special position and the need for special provision to be made for them should be highlighted in section 9 — what are, in fact, the directives which the Oireachtas is handing out to An Chomhairle Traenála.

There is another point which I think should be discussed in regard to this Bill and that is the special position in regard to technician training. I shall return to discuss that afterwards.

Another point which I think we could with profit discuss is the exclusion of the apprenticeship training of agricultural workers from the Bill. The Minister, in his Second Stage speech, mentioned that activities of primary production in agriculture, horticulture and fishing have been excluded because training in these spheres is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries because he does not think that this type of training, important though it undoubtedly is, could be tackled effectively by a body set up to look after industrial and commercial training.

The Minister may be satisfied with what the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries is doing in regard to apprenticeship training but I think it will be found that some Members of this House are not. The position apparently is that, last year, special provision was made in the Estimates for farm apprenticeship training — a provision of £160. The Minister well knows how much real training can be got for £160. There might have been a sound argument for completely excluding agricultural workers from this Bill when the Bill was originally drafted over a year ago at which time the Manpower Agency was part of the Department of Industry and Commerce. There may have been grounds for suggesting that it would be wrong to bring the training of workers for whom the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries would be responsible under the Department of Industry and Commerce. However, when the Department of Labour was set up, and when we have a Minister for Labour who is now taking responsibility for industrial training, there is a fair case that the training of agricultural workers should also be his responsibility. We cannot have a real manpower policy if we exclude agriculture from its provisions. We cannot have a real training policy if we are content that there will be the benefits of modern training groups, of accelerated vocational training, of refresher training, for industrial workers and that the training of agricultural workers will be left to go on in the old haphazard fashion.

I do not underestimate the difficulties of organising the training of agricultural apprentices. I do not underestimate the various special reasons which would make this a very difficult scheme to formulate and to administer. Nevertheless, there is too facile an assumption that agricultural workers should automatically be excluded from this Bill and I urge the Minister to think about this problem.

In his Second Reading speech recommending the Bill, the Minister referred to accelerated vocational training and mentioned that this would be one of the new departures for which An Chomhairle Traenála would be responsible. Of course, accelerated vocational training can be used either for initial training, for refresher courses or for conversion courses from one skill to another. Such courses of accelerated vocational training have been given in various countries in Europe over the past 50 years but it is only since the last war that they have become really popular.

There are a few points which I should like to make in regard to the direction accelerated vocational training might take in this particular country. First of all, perhaps we should be clear about what we mean by accelerated vocational training. All I can do is to be clear on what I mean about accelerated vocational training and hope the Minister agrees. To my mind, accelerated vocational training is the training of unskilled or semiskilled workers to prepare them for training provided by specially trained instructors using what are known as active teaching methods and, of course, by its very name, it is concentrated in time. The characteristics of accelerated vocational training, as we find them in Europe and in the rest of the world today, are that it has practically always grown as a result of Government initiative; that the period over which it has been given has been, on the average, something about six months, sometimes as low as three months, sometimes as much as ten months but usually something of the order of six months compared with the three to five years of the traditional apprenticeship training. The third feature of it has been that special methods have been used and developed in order to allow the training to be carried out in this short space of time.

To my mind, accelerated vocational training should not be used, if it can possibly be avoided, for initial training purposes. I mentioned earlier that apprenticeship is much more than the acquisition of skills. It is also a psychological introduction of the adolescent to the world of work. The apprentice who goes through the classic traditional apprenticeship learns much more than the actual skills. If we replace this by accelerated vocational training for initial purposes we may well find ourselves in the position that it would be extremely difficult to convert the craftsmen we produce in this way to another skill at a later stage. The success of accelerated vocational training in the past has been that it was largely applied to those who had already followed a traditional apprenticeship course and the psychologists who have studied this remarkable phenomenon of how to make a skilled man in six months referred to the transfer of apprenticeship — this is the technical term they used — the transfer of apprenticeship from the old course to the new.

The older worker who is subjected to accelerated vocational training is able to draw on the experience of his original apprenticeship. He is able to relate what is now being taught to him in compact concentrated fashion to the things he learned slowly and gradually during his traditional apprenticeship and I think this has been one of the essential parts of the success of accelerated vocational training. So, we should consider this teaching method as being something that can supplement apprenticeship but not replace it.

It is, perhaps, significant that accelerated vocational training and the special methods which have been developed under it stem largely from the work of a Swiss who was working in this field, a man called Carrard, who had the rather unusual combination of being both a psychologist and an engineer. This is the essence of accelerated vocational training, that if we forget either of these elements in the accelerated vocational training we might well fall down on the job.

As I mentioned, accelerated vocational training has become widespread since the war. I have not seen any recent figures on the subject but 10 years ago Germany was training 50,000 skilled craftsmen a year by this method and Italy 100,000 a year. I am sure the figures are well in excess of that by now.

If we are to have accelerated vocational training here, I should like to ask the Minister what are the proposals in regard to the financing of it. Here, of course, is one of the points where the absence of his redunancy proposals makes it very difficult for us to discuss. The White Paper on Manpower Policy merely stated that the Exchequer would contribute to such training but there has been no further definite information in regard to this. I should like to ask the Minister how does he propose to finance it and will it be confined to redundant workers only or will it be used also for refresher courses for skilled workers who are going to remain in the same skilled trade but who need to be brought up to date in view of changing technology? These are questions which it would be helpful if the Minister were to answer in concluding the Second Stage debate.

I mentioned earlier the question of special groups of workers and I should like to spend a little time talking about the special problem that is posed by older workers who have to undergo retraining. There can be no doubt that the first priority which we have in regard to industrial training is the training of the young. This does not mean, however, that we should neglect the continuing training and the continuing education of those who have already entered the labour force. The retraining of the older worker — and according to the ILO we are all older workers once we pass 40 — is a critical problem in all countries either developed or developing. In approaching this problem of the training of the older worker our motivation must be both an economic and a social one. It is good to find that there are areas in which our economic and our social motivations coincide. To look at the economic aspect first, the new entrants to our labour force are of necessity a small proportion of the work force.

In the problems that we will face in conditions of greater free trade either inside or outside Europe our productivity depends on the whole labour force and will depend to a very large extent on the workers who received their initial training many years ago and this creates great problems. In our adaptation for free trade conditions there is a tendency to move towards new types of technological production, new types of machinery, many of which are integral parts of a manufacturing process which is machine-paced.

The experience has been that the older worker finds little difficulty with the physical aspects of his work but that he definitely finds himself in difficulty in regard to the perceptual aspects of it and he finds it more and more difficult to maintain performance, particularly in regard to machine-paced processes. This creates a real problem for industry and it creates a real problem for the community. The ideal solution, of course, is job redesign and the use of ergonomics in the laying out and the design of work processes so that there is in the work process room for whatever proportion of older workers we need to cater for. But, this is not always possible and so there is a tendency to transfer the older worker to less demanding jobs but this, I think, if we are to do it on any scale in the future, will be both economically wasteful and socially undesirable.

There is no inherent difficulty about the retraining of older workers. There has been a tendency in discussions in the past to think that the older workers were more difficult to retrain because of something that was inherent in their age. It is now realised that this is not true, that most of the difficulties of retraining older workers are due to the inadequacies in their basic training. Many instances of this are available. One case I read of recently was where 82 oil refinery workers were retrained and at the end of the retraining period it was found that those who were over 40 had substantially lower grades in their final tests than those who were under 40 but when they were reclassified so that those who were over 40 were compared with those under 40 with the same number of years of fulltime schooling there was no significant difference between their performance.

So, we find that the inherent difficulty in the retraining of older workers is due to the defects in their basic education, is due to the fact that they did not have at their school-going time the advantages that are now given to younger workers. There is a real responsibility, a real social responsibility here on the State to make allowance for this fact and to make allowance for the fact that we may have to pay more and that we may have to make special provision for the older worker now because of what we did not give him in the past. This is one of the reasons why I think it may be necessary to highlight this in the Bill. If it is necessary to retrain these older workers, and if it costs more to retrain an older worker, if it needs a more skilled supervisor and a more skilled instructor in order to carry out this retraining of the older worker, then I believe we have a social debt to these older workers to spend that money. This should, I think, be highlighted so that there will be no doubt whatsoever that the Oireachtas accepts that this is the way in which things should be done.

It is true that the educational deficiencies can be overcome. It is not merely that we have to take the older workers who have the proper basic education. Their educational defects can be overcome by specially designed retraining courses. If we merely set up retraining courses without special provision for the older workers the position will be that the older worker will not be able to make as great use of them as the younger worker can. But if we make special provision for the older worker, then the retraining of these can be eminently successful.

A classic case of this is cited again and again in the literature; it is the case of the conversion of the French railways to electric power. Something like 1,500 engine drivers took part in a retraining scheme, of whom 50 per cent were older workers in the sense of being over 40 years of age. There are many problems in regard to the older workers and I think they should be separated. We should realise the psychological problem involved in the retraining of the older worker.

When he is asked to undertake retraining and go to another job it is not only new skills he is asked to undertake; he may be asked to go into a new environment and follow a new routine and the accumulation of all these departures from the familiar may be a great strain on him.

Secondly, we should encourage as much as possible the idea that when older workers are retrained they should be retrained for jobs within the same industry in which they were before and, to a large extent, in which ordinary routines of work, apart from the skilled operations, will be largely similar. This is a point which must be kept in mind. There has been quite successful work in this direction. In Sweden they have successfully retrained workers over 60 years of age. Remarkable work is being done at the Grande Ecole at Nancy under Professor Schwartz who has taken a particular interest in this particular problem.

We must face the alternatives. Either we allow the older workers to maintain the brunt of the redundancy, which we know will come, or else, as a second alternative, we insist as a social duty on keeping all workers by introducing severe regulations in regard to severance, or by insisting on quotas; a third alternative is that we make special provision for the continuous retraining of older workers. On both economic and social grounds it is, I think, the last that we must do.

I think there is little doubt on social grounds and I think there may be equally little doubt on economic grounds. These people have a training, which may not now be precisely what is required but, nevertheless, they have a training and experience which is an economic asset to their industry and to the State. Rather than relegate them to the first available job, which is less demanding on them, we should seek to make the best economic use we can of them.

Having considered the problems about which I have been talking, we now realise that this problem of industrial training is a great deal more than a mere extension of apprenticeship training methods to other workers. We realise that if An Chomhairle Traenála is to succeed in what we wish it to do it will have to be a great deal more than a mere continuance of An Cheard Chomhairle under another name. There must be a real break here. There must be a real widening out to these wider horizons where these problems have really in their essence very little to do with the training of apprentices. That is why I feel special measures are required and that is why I believe special directives should be written into the Bill.

The next point I should like to discuss is the question of technician training. Technicians are mentioned in just one word in one line of the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill. Shortage of technicians and lack of technicians in this country is the greatest burden we carry in facing European competition. What is a technician? He is a person who plays an intermediate role between the skilled craftsman and the professional technologist. The training and use of such people have become a problem in all countries today. The technician is a man with a scientific and technological training which enables him to apply proven techniques in a responsible manner. It is not for him to develop new techniques. This is a province of the technologist. It is not for him merely to carry out a skilled operation. That is the function of the skilled craftsman. His role lies in between. The skilled craftsman is a man requiring in his training and in his actual work theory and practice in the proportions of 20 per cent theory and 80 per cent practice. At the other end of the scale we have the technologist who, in his training and in his work, may require 20 per cent practice and 80 per cent theory. In between we have the technician, a man who is roughly half theory and half practice. He is a keyman in technological development.

It is a great defect of Irish industry that we have not many technicians and that our industrialists simply do not know how to use the few we have. This is a key manpower shortage. The attitude of industry to the training of technicians is one of the key defects of management. Technicians are a vital element in productivity. The Minister was, I think, Minister for Education when a study on the training of technicians was undertaken for OECD. If I remember rightly, he was present at the confrontation meeting in Paris and so there is no need for me to preach to him about the importance of this particular aspect of industry.

Is it enough to say this Bill can cover technicians? Will this meet the technician problem? Is it sufficient to say we can consider technician training as an extension of craft training, as well might happen under this Bill as drafted? I do not think it is. I think we need, above all, a separate comprehensive policy in regard to this important industrial group. We need a policy of technician manpower. We need a policy of technician training. We need a policy on the use of the technician. Above all, we need a policy in regard to technician status. All the various bodies which have examined this problem have all come to the conclusion that one of the main problems in Ireland in relation to the technician is the failure to recognise the technician as being a separate group in the industrial force.

We need a technician manpower policy because we have a real deficit. The various professional associations concerned with engineering submitted various recommendations to the Commission on Higher Education away back in the far-off days of 1961. Cumann na nInnealtóirí, the Institute of Civil Engineers of Ireland, and the Institute of Electrical Engineers, made many submissions but they all made one submission in which what they all had to say was almost identical and that was in regard to the great importance of the technician shortage and the necessity for getting a policy which would make everyone realise that the work of technicians could not be done either by up-graded craftsmen or by down-graded technologists.

At that stage I made an estimate for Cumann na nInnealtóirí that we needed almost immediately to be training technicians at the rate of 700 a year. The OECD Report on the training of technicians in Ireland, which was published in Paris in 1964, did not agree with me. They felt that a figure between 230 and 450 would be sufficient. I am very glad to see in the Investment in Education Report that the figure came back to 750 a year as being the required number. A more recent report puts the present deficit at 2,000 and the yearly requirement at 715. So close to this is my figure of 1961 that I am almost inclined to apply for a job in the manpower department as a forecaster.

The Senator is to be congratulated.

The deficit may be a real and crippling one in terms of European trade. It is peculiarly difficult for us because of our small scale. It is possible for the industrialised countries to train technicians in narrow specialities but I do not think that would answer our problem here. The Institute of Civil Engineers of Ireland have had during the past two years a committee sitting on this whole problem of technician training and they have come up with a scheme in which they have done a special analysis of the technician requirements of the country. They have made a proposal in regard to the training of technicians who would not be completely specialised but sufficiently specialised to meet our various needs.

In regard to a policy of technician training, we have not any as yet. The answer, of course, is that the regional colleges will cater for this need. There, again, we are in the difficulty of having to discuss the manpower policy without having details in regard to the regional colleges. What about the organisation of this training, apart from the actual giving of training? Is An Chomhairle Traenála the best organisation for this purpose? I rather doubt it. There is no doubt that the principal problem that An Chomhairle Traenála will continue to face is the training of apprentices and the consideration of the conversion of skilled craftsmen by ACT but is it the best body to undertake the additional duty of the training of technicians? I do not think it is. There is a real danger here that even if An Chomhairle Traenála tackled this job with vigour and competence it will fail because it will fail to highlight the essential element that technicians are different from skilled craftsmen; their training is different, their functions are different, they are a separate group. We cannot, except in an emergency, provide technicians by converting craftsmen or converting engineers or other technologists. They have a special balance between theory and practice. They need a special training and they need a special recognition.

The professional engineering associations in 1961 recommended to the Commission on Higher Education that there should be a national diploma for technicians, one which would cover all specialisations. They recommended that there should be established a national council for technicians and Cumann na nInnealtóirí, at the express request of the Commission, put in a second detailed submission in which they outlined what was required in this regard. An OECD Report in 1964 also recommended the setting up of a national technicians' council and a national diploma. I still think as I thought in 1961 that this is the way in which this problem should be solved. I would ask the Minister to think again on this point, to think whether it would not be better to take technicians out of the scope of this Bill and set up a special council on technicians, a special national diploma for technicians, and to leave An Chomhairle Traenála to carry out the cognate but distinct functions of the training of operatives, the training of craftsmen and the retraining of craftsmen. This is something which would be well worth the Minister's while to consider.

The difficulty here is that in many respects the training of the technician is similar to that of the training of the professional technologists. The Minister has excluded professional activities from the Bill but I should like to ask him whether he has excluded professional training as such from the scope of the Bill. Perhaps he might answer me on that point. It is not possible to designate a professional activity as being a designated industrial activity but does this preclude An Chomhairle Traenála from dealing with professional activities and training within a particular industry in which there is carried out training functions with regard to the members of the work force? If it is not intended to cover professional training in the Bill or to give An Chomhairle Traenála any function with regard to professional training, then the position is that certain difficulties may arise in regard to technicians.

Within the past month the Council of the Institute of Civil Engineers of Ireland has approved in principle the proposal that this professional body would recognise engineering technicians as affiliate members. In other words, this body, which has been purely professional up to now, is prepared to recognise special groups of members, engineering technicians, who have achieved special status. We can see in this a movement towards the linking of the training and recognition of technicians with that of professional engineering. If professional training, professional standards are to be excluded from this Bill then it might be as well that technicians, and certainly technicians of a certain grade, should be excluded. The trouble of course, as I said, is that the technician lies between the professional and the skilled craftsman and he can lie within any part of the spectrum in between the two.

This Bill is a detailed one and there are many points which I should like to discuss in detail on the Committee Stage but in the meantime these are the points that I bring to the Minister for his consideration now. The provisions of the Bill in regard to the training of operatives, of craftsmen, are very welcome. Nevertheless, I feel that the special problems of older workers and other disadvantage groups should not be left as being merely covered by the Bill: there should be a highlighting and there should be no doubt about the authority to make special and particular provision for them. The scope of the Bill needs a good deal of thought. The question of the exclusion of agricultural workers is something that might well be reconsidered. As I have just said, the question whether the Bill should cover technicians is one that might also be considered.

In spite of having these doubts about whether the Bill is exactly what is needed in order to meet many of our complex problems of industrial training, nevertheless I do welcome it as a significant step forward and as the first real, tangible result we have had from the Government's decision to implement a manpower policy. The Members of this House will have no doubt about the importance I personally attach to this policy. I welcome this Bill and hope we will not have to wait too long for the remainder of the Minister's proposals in regard to the manpower policy.

I, too, welcome this Bill, but it is disgraceful that we should have to wait until 1967 to have this Bill before us. I say this very deliberately because all that Senator Dooge has been saying was current talk away back in 1963 and 1964 when there was a consciousness among the trade unions and among the employers of the need to do something urgently in regard to industrial training and retraining. There was a consciousness of this also in the Government Departments because this Bill flows, I suppose, from the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Retraining and Resettlement in relation to the European Social Fund. There is no date on this booklet but I put a date on it myself at the time, October, 1963; in fact I think it was published some time earlier in 1963.

That Report dealt with retraining and resettlement. In this Bill we are dealing only with training and retraining and not with resettlement. I do not intend to go into detail about the Report itself but I want to underline the fact that there was urgency about this matter away back in 1963. At the same time, the trade unions were equally fully conscious of the urgency in these matters, and I see recorded in the annual report of Congress for 1962-63 that in their representations to the Inter-Departmental Committee they were stressing, amongst other things, the fact that teachers would require specialist training and that the selection and training of teachers should be begun as soon as possible.

Now we are told in the Second Reading speech of the Minister in 1967 that possibly one of the first things this Board will have to do is to institute experimental training and retraining arrangements in advance of bringing industry formally within the scope of the legislation. I suppose that is logical but we are saying it in 1967. Of course even in 1963 we were far behind every other western European country in this connection. We were far behind the countries in the EEC, and it was stressed in this report of the Inter-Departmental Committee, even though, in relation to the then European Social Fund, it had to deal with other aspects of manpower policy, that the countries involved already had arrangements for training and retraining before ever the EEC was set up. Granted the EEC had brought them on and improved them but even before the Common Market came into being, these other countries had been dealing with this problem of the training and retraining of workers.

In Great Britain also — and goodness knows, Great Britain were very slow in all this — they have been dealing with this to the extent that already 16 industrial training boards are in existence, covering nine million workers. One of these boards, the Engineering Industrial Training Board, has an income by way of 2½ per cent levy on wages and salaries of £75 million per annum, and the Minister of Labour recently announced that he was allocating £2 million this year, 1967, to assist employers in installing new machinery and ancillary equipment in their training bays or centres.

We need not go as far as the EEC or even across the water. We need only look across the Border to see that in Northern Ireland, who are like us, competing for industry, trying to get industries established in their territory in order to provide employment, they have been doing something about this problem for years now. Originally they did it under the 1950 Employment and Training Act and it was further extended under the Industrial Training Act of 1964. The result of all this is that by 1966, 200,000 workers, involving 70 per cent of the manufacturing population, were covered by training boards. There are already nine or ten training centres. One of these is the biggest in the United Kingdom. It is outside Belfast, and they can have 50 persons in training there at the one time. They have five chief instructors and 55 instructors. The Minister is telling us here in 1967 that one of the first tasks of An Chomhairle Traenála will be to introduce experimental training and retraining arrangements in advance of bringing industry formally within the scope of the legislation.

I am not saying that is not the right way to approach the problem. I have no criticism of this Bill. I welcome it; it is an agreed measure and it is supported by the Labour Party and the trade union movement. My criticism is that we are now getting the Bill which we should have got years ago, and even if we had got it years ago, we would be at a disadvantage compared with other countries. Do we expect other countries to stay back, blow a whistle and wait for us? It was not only the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee that drew attention to these matters. It is also stressed in various reports of the CIO, and I think in their final report in 1964, they came back to this subject and stressed the urgency of doing something about training and retraining.

What is the sense in all this? Let us try to put it into perspective. This Inter-Departmental Committee was established by the Government in the context of our application for membership of the EEC. During the course of the work of the Committee, the negotiations for entry to the EEC by Britain broke down, and ours, as you know, were deferred. Nevertheless the Government, rightly I think, told the Committee, and I quote:

The Government have since made it clear that there should be no slackening in the preparations for conditions of free trade.

The Committee went ahead with their work and eventually brought out a report in 1963.

What has happened since 1963? We have now a Bill coming before us early in 1967. In the meantime, the Government have signed the Free Trade Agreement with Great Britain, but still without doing anything about a retraining and manpower policy. The need for this is (a) to improve the employment prospects for workers in this country and (b) to ensure as far as possible that in a situation of freer trade and greater competition, redundancy will be avoided. This can best be done my making our workers more skilled in a situation in which the rate of change is rapidly increasing.

In his speech — and I looked for this particularly—the Minister had no word of explanation or apology as to why we have had all this delay, why we have had to wait until 1967 to see this Bill. He uses very fine words. He says:

This Bill is designed to ensure that no reasonable effort will be spared in stimulating investment in time,

—that sounds very fine from this Government—

energy or money in the development of the skill and knowledge of our most valuable asset, people.

This sort of retraining — the term AVT was the one we all knew three or four years ago, but if you mention it now, people probably think you have got your television programmes mixed up —has been a matter of concern to trade unions. The extent of the problem was realised and there was agreement to face up to it. Nobody likes disturbance; nobody likes the prospect of AVT. Nevertheless, there was a general acceptance among the trade union movement of the need for it. Congress held two conferences on the topic. They even went to the extent of publishing a special booklet dealing with employment training and retraining in 1963. It was distributed generally to the trade unions throughout the country. Most copies are now probably lost or forgotten about, because nothing happened. This Government did nothing in the intervening years. In their annual report for 1964, Congress, commenting on the report of the departmental committee, said amongst other things:

We suggest that the possibility of establishing a Ministry of Labour should be seriously examined, although we do not consider that the establishment of training schemes should await a decision on this matter.

The opposite has happened. The Government finally faced up to the situation and established a Ministry of Labour. But in the meantime they did nothing about this question of training schemes. Now we have the Bill. In the same report, they said:

The Authority should be established without delay.

I am sorry to be critical in a debate such as this. The Bill itself is acceptable to the Labour Party. It is an agreed measure, agreed with trade unions and employers. I do not know of any delay or understandable foot dragging on the part of the trade unions. The trade unions have gone along with it. The delay, as far as I can see, has been the responsibility of the Government. This becomes increasingly urgent. I made the point that Britain possibly was late in this field. European countries have been far ahead in this direction. We are even further behind Britain. In 1963 it was accepted by everybody—Government Departments, employers and trade unions — that this was a matter of great urgency. It is now 1967 and we are finally getting the Bill. Eventually, the Board will be set up and then they will have to start their work.

I welcome the fact that the Board is being set up belatedly. I also welcome the fact that the Apprenticeship Board is being merged with this new Board. I hope it means that their approach to these problems will be the same and that we will have the intelligent, quiet leadership we have found from the Apprenticeship Board, which has been dealing with a very difficult problem. It is not easy to make progress in regard to apprenticeship. Trade unions and skilled crafts tend to be conservative in this matter. The Apprenticeship Board has made great progress since it was set up. I would not like this occasion to pass without complimenting it on the work it has done and expressing the hope that this new Board will have a similar approach to the problem. It must be tackled quickly and with a great deal of tact.

There is another question I should like to put to the Minister. He may have answered it in his speech, but I did not see it. It is whether the arrangements under this Bill will qualify for assistance from the European Social Fund. The Inter-Departmental Committee said in page 17 of their report:

It should be noted that, even if this country were a member of EEC, the great bulk of the expenditure on the present training provided by the Vocational Education Service would not qualify for recoupment from the European Social Fund.

Perhaps the Minister will say if what is envisaged in this Bill will qualify, even though, judging from the newspaper headlines this evening, it may not be a matter of great urgency. I see something about our friend, De Gaulle, having slammed the door again. Even if it is not a matter of urgency, it is something we should have regard to because of the possibility of our eventually being in EEC. I have mentioned the cost. I quoted, for example, the income available to the training boards in Britain. I notice from the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee that in EEC, it costs an average of £300 per worker to put them through an AVT course. In Great Britain at that time — four or five years ago — the average annual running costs in Government training centres was £385 per place, excluding, and £820 per place including, the costs of allowances, fares et cetera of trainees. This took no account of the capital costs in providing these centres of training.

The point I want to make here is that the Minister says, as I have already quoted:

... no reasonable effort will be spared in stimulating investment of time, energy and money...

I want some assurance from him that we shall not be trailing along; we want assurances that the Government are prepared to invest money in the training and retraining envisaged under the scheme and that there will not be a great postponement. I know the Minister says the first task will be to institute experimental training and retraining but I hope we will not have to wait until 1968-69 for money to be made available for the capital cost of building the training centres.

The Minister says:

We recognise the key role which training has to play in the future development of our economy.

We are starting very late in this matter. I hope that the money, enthusiasm and energy necessary to go ahead with this job—to try to catch up with other countries in this direction—will not be spared, that the money will be available, that the Board will be set up quickly and start its work. I can confidently, on behalf of the trade union movement, offer our co-operation in the work of An Chomhairle Traenála. Even in spite of my critical remarks, remarks which I intended to be critical, I wish this Training Board every success.

I propose to be brief in my comments but I want to say there is a complete air of unreality about the discussion in this House. It is even more unrealistic than the discussion which took place—or what I read of it—in the other House. Nobody, as the Minister said, quarrels with the underlying principles of the Bill because the principles perform two functions—to bring about a proper training of workers who may be displaced and to give a feeling of security to workers, if they lose their jobs, that they will get alternative work after retraining. That is my interpretation of the measure.

There are many aspects of this measure with which I could deal but I should like to take a broad general view of the situation as I see it. Senator Murphy and others suggested that the CIO Reports were responsible for alarming the Government about the necessity to do something if free trade conditions arose. Perhaps the fact that EEC appeared on the horizon has been beneficial: to this extent, the Government are awakening to the necessity for doing something about the situation in the industrial field. But, reading the Minister's speech here and examining the Bill, it is quite clear that although everybody supports the idea of preparing the country for greater competition, we are about to apply here the same type of legislation as highly industrialised countries elsewhere are applying.

It cannot be denied that this piece of proposed legislation is virtually word for word a copy of British legislation dealing with the problems which this Government asserts are of a similar nature to those in England. Far from it; it shows little imagination on the part of our Government that they had to wait until the British produced their solutions for problems of facing European competition, that they had to wait until the British Act of Parliament was available before they could even contemplate bringing about solutions to our existing problems. That is precisely the position. If anybody cares to examine the measure in Britain and compare it with what we have before us here, it will become very apparent that the same pen wrote both, that the same mind thought them up.

Who can for a moment suggest that the problems of redundancy or retraining in Britain are similar to those we have to face here? The problem in Britain is one where they have practically full employment, since a Labour Government in Britain brought about fundamental changes from 20 years ago. What is taking place there is an effort on the part of the Government to persuade workers to move from one type of employment to another at the present time. They have gone so far as to find employers who will take on extra employees and have given inducements, in the form of tax relief, to those particular industries taking on more employees, where the Government believe there is an opening for expansion, for markets and so on.

Have we great evidence at the moment that a similar situation obtains in Ireland, where there are at the moment 64,000 unemployed and approximately 30,000 leaving each year? Leaving that aside for the moment: as I said, the British problem is one dealing with industrial workers at the present time, retraining them and making sure that industries are established properly to withstand competition from abroad. What is the position here? Our main problem is the unemployment obtaining in rural areas; it is the haemorrhage from the land of Ireland that has to be dealt with. Yet, in all the hundreds of words the Minister has read here to explain Government policy to the Members of this House, the main section of the community affected at the present time is excluded from the benefits, whatever they may be, of this proposed legislation. I am referring to the workers in the primary agricultural industries, because I know the Minister may suggest that provision will be made for the retraining of workers in the processing portion of the agricultural industry.

Let us be clear: the drain at the present time is from the primary branches of agriculture and that drain did not start in 1964 or 1963, when the CIO Reports were published. That drain has been there for the past 30 years. Whatever Senator Murphy may say about the Government being late and tardy in introducing this legislation to deal with industrial workers, I say that it is criminal negligence on the part of the Government to do nothing about the thousands of people who, through desperation, are leaving the land every year. Nothing whatever is being done by the Government to deal with that problem.

To show the comparison they make and the favouritism they show towards certain sections of the community, last week the Government, the trade unions and the employers were in a terrible state about the danger of 4,000 workers in the car assembly industry being put out of their jobs within a week or a fortnight. I recollect speaking at length in the other House three years ago on the question of redundancy in the car assembly business. The argument was put forward that it could not happen. In the CIO Report, it was stated that the car assembly business would go on. At that time the Taoiseach himself said: "Look, you have space in your big assembly plants. We are prepared to give you grants to retool your equipment and alter the type of work you have been doing in these plants." There was no end to the amount of money that was offered to these assemblers to diversify.

What happened? Not even one of those car assembly groups took action at that time. They have now had three years in which to do it. Here we have a position in which 4,000 workers' jobs are in jeopardy at present. The Government are now in a sweat to see what can be done, but when I compare their anxiety at this stage about these 4,000 people—I am delighted to see that they are worried about them even now—with their disinterest, their complete lack of interest, in the welfare of the 14,000 men and women who had to leave the land last year, I find it very difficult to believe in the sincerity of the Government in the long run about making attempts to solve our problems.

We are now attempting in a more or less half developed community—we are described internationally as a less-developed country—to use as a solution to our problems a solution that suits the highly industrialised nations. When I read reports about what is taking place in these European countries in regard to retraining, I am worried at the idea that the Government are prepared to take a blueprint from other countries without realising the dangers of applying it here—a blueprint for a programme that suits other countries but does not suit our community. These other countries are highly developed industrially and we cannot hope—and this is not to denigrate our nation at all—even to suggest that we are in the same position as these highly industrialised countries who when they are dealing with their rural problems do so in a very different frame of mind and with industrial spectacles on them.

Here agriculture is our major way of life. That should be our predominant interest and the Government should be attempting to solve the difficulties that lie in that part of our economy. I do not intend to deal with that aspect at any length except to say that the whole thing is unrealisic to me. Perhaps it may be said that I am being parochial when I bring it down to hard tacks and to the position as it is in rural Ireland, but it is up to each individual to give his own examples of how the Government should move in matters of this nature.

For instance, in the past five years, the Department of Local Government, a major State concern, have issued directives to the local authorities to utilise the most modern type of machinery for making roads and for the working of quarries, and to take every step open to them to reduce the cost of roadmaking. I will put it that way. That implies the use of hire purchase or rented machinery, huge machines, at a very high cost. The local authorities are doing that, and they are closing down quarries all over the country which up to now gave part-time employment to small farmers, forestry workers, and other workers. When a Department of State deliberately suggest that highly efficient machinery should be used, by bringing in that type of machinery, the Department are disemploying workers. What action are other Departments taking, for instance the Department of Labour, to see that workers who are made redundant are compensated, or given alternative employment, or retrained?

Within the past month I have seen quarries close down in localities where people are living in most congested areas and 20 or 30 families left without any means of existence except the labour exchanges. The answer given by officialdom—by the Department of Local Government is: "It is efficient. We are saving the ratepayers and we are saving the Government." By what? By leaving 30 breadwinners on the sidelines without any means of earning their living and without any alternative work. These are the practical issues. How are they being dealt with? This is not a question of 300 or 400 men losing their jobs in six months, 12 months or two years time when we become big nobs, when we get into the closed shop, the select group, in the Common Market. We are standing outside at the moment with our mouths open waiting to get in after Britain. I am not talking about a future event. This is something that is happening at present and has been happening for years past, and I see nothing whatever being done to remedy it.

I have always maintained that the greatest curse for this country so far as the Government are concerned is that when they start to examine a problem they look at it with a Dublin mentality. I do not say that the Minister has a Dublin city outlook, but he is part of a team and he must support the team. He must back the team of which he is a member. There is no doubt that a Dublin mentality prevails and predominates in any of these schemes. The question of what happens in the rural areas which the small farmers are rapidly leaving does not seem to worry them at all. They are not prepared to listen to advice from people who know the position and are prepared to help them.

That is mainly what I wanted to bring home to the House—that while this legislation may be of benefit on the Statute Book at some future time to our industrial workers, it should be borne in mind that the more serious problem is there already and that this Bill, though reference is made in it to agricultural workers and to the rural community, is not aimed at solving the major problem.

In reality, what the Bill may do in the long run is to help some of those industries which have been featherbedded, petted and protected since 1932 under the benevolent guidance of the company chief himself, the former Taoiseach. Those companies which started with protection, which was only supposed to last for a short time until they got on their feet, got fat on that protection; they got lazy on the protection and began to believe they were entitled to it for all time.

Would the Senator come to the Industrial Training Bill?

Many of those industries can be described as hothouse industries and unfortunately it is towards the further protection of those industries that this type of legislation is aimed. It is my criticism that whereas the fundamental industry, agriculture, and another industry, fishing, and still another, forestry, have been neglected, the featherbedding of certain industries continues. If we are to be serious about training, it is the fundamental industries we should get at as a matter of priority.

Like other Senators, it is my opinion that the Bill is long overdue. It is now more than three years since the whole question of manpower policy was raised in the Irish National Productivity Commission at Malahide and it has taken an inordinately long time to bring this legislation before us and the redundancy measure, delay of which might be excused for certain reasons. The need for this Bill is evident because we have much concrete evidence of the shortage of trained—I avoid use of the word "skilled"—workers in industry in conditions of an overall labour surplus.

We are in the ludicrous position of having a labour surplus which we cannot employ and yet being short of the various kinds of skilled workers, to the detriment of industry and of industrial development. The Economic Research Institute publish a quarterly survey of industry and in it each quarter one can read the views of industry on its ability to obtain skilled labour. There is a survey for October, 1966 which certainly was not a period of great prosperity in industry but could be regarded as a time when industry was at a low ebb. Despite that, in a period when one would have thought labour conditions would be eased, only two per cent of industry found skilled labour easy to obtain. Forty-seven per cent experienced extreme difficulty in obtaining skilled workers. Throughout industry, the percentage ranges from 34 per cent to 47 per cent in the matter of experiencing difficulties in procuring skilled labour, a picture which is a disgrace to a country with a labour surplus. We have been in a position in which our people are there to be employed but we have been incapable of training them at a time when every industry in the country is experiencing some element of difficulty in getting skilled labour and when none, or virtually none, can report ease in getting skilled labour.

Secondly, as evidence of this, there is the fact that several years ago the woollen and worsted industry found itself so frustrated by inability to obtain even semi-skilled labour that it proposed to the National Industrial Economic Council that some sort of survey be compiled of the reality of our employment statistics, a survey which has been carried out by the Sociology Department of University College, Dublin, working closely with the NIEC and the Department of Industry and Commerce, and more recently with the Department of Labour, a survey which will enlighten us as never before on the realities of our employment situation in relation to labour supply and demand.

In Investment in Education we again had evidence of a very severe shortage of skilled labour, growing rapidly and getting out of hand, and a deficiency of people, not tradesmen but in the intermediate certificate and group certificate levels because of the failure of our educational system to provide the education demanded in modern conditions.

We have had experience of industrialists coming to the country who, while they had much that was cheerful to say of their experience, have pretty unanimously, when their leaders have spoken, told of difficulty in getting trained labour at any level. They have commented on the adaptability of Irish labour and the ease with which Irish workers learn the work, but they have had to say they have not been able to get readily the trained workers they needed.

We have again the remarkable evidence of the census of population for 1961 which showed that whereas only one per cent of our unskilled workers were born outside Ireland, if one moves up through the range of the skills, one gets a higher proportion born outside the country because we here have failed to provide the skilled people we need. Instead of one per cent born outside the country in the case of labourers, one gets three per cent or four per cent as one goes up through the range of skills, showing that we have been importing people from outside Ireland in these categories. For the category of foremen, the figure is five per cent; it is six per cent for service workers, seven and a half per cent for professional and technical workers, and 15 per cent born outside this island in the case of directors and managers. I deliberately include Northern Ireland. There is an upward progression from the labourer at the bottom, rising as the skills get greater. As our own shortage of skilled people grows, we have to import them.

At the same time, whom are we exporting? We are exporting people without education or training at such a level that a survey of immigrants into Britain disclosed the deplorable fact that our emigrants have a lower educational standard than people from the West Indies and have an industrial education and background far behind the other ex-colonies of the United Kingdom.

We are therefore exporting the unskilled and importing the skilled. Our labour surplus, which should be a source of trained workers, has not been used in that way because we have not provided our people with the training and the skills they need at home and which would be valuable to them, when and if they emigrate. There is also the general impression among industrialists that the availability of trained labour in this country is far below our reasonable needs. We are being misled here, as Senator McQuillan indicated he was misled, by our unemployment statistics which are unsatisfactory as a guide to the availability of labour.

When these unemployment statistics are examined carefully, it will be found that many registered as unemployed are not in fact unemployed. They are drawing unemployment benefits to which they are entitled but they are casually employed, possibly as dockers or other categories who are entitled to draw their unemployment benefit—I do not suggest there is any evasion of or looseness in the regulations—because they are unwilling to move to other work if asked to do so. That aspect of our unemployment statistics is misleading. This is something which I hope the Drogheda pilot survey will help to clarify for us.

Even if we did not have the opportunities of employment for trained workers which are evident in the light of the fact that we have to import from outside so many trained and skilled workers in this region, it would be better that our emigrants would be trained in different skills and they would not find themselves at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the West Indians. This is something which I think the Minister committed himself to. I think he was Minister for Education when he was asked this question at the OECD by some of the examiners. He was asked what the attitude of the Irish was in regard to this matter. One can understand why they asked this question in view of the statistics I have given. The Minister committed himself to the view that we want to train people even if they have to leave the country and take up employment elsewhere. We want them to be better trained so that wherever they go they can take up employment in different fields.

The trade unions can co-operate in this matter. As Senator Murphy said, there are some difficulties here. There are trade unions which adopt a restrictive attitude. Apparently they do not want their particular trade to be flooded by unskilled workers. The attitude of those trade unions should be changed. It is intolerable that Irish people cannot obtain training in any union which they desire. I was glad to see Senator Murphy pointing to this problem and accepting that it is a problem which needs to be tackled and which will require the co-operation of the trade unions. Of course, there can be circumstances in which one can in a sense over-educate people, that is to say, they can be educated in a field in which there is no need to educate them and in which there is no need for their services and no particular demand for them.

There is over-emphasis in this country on the grammar school type of education and on over-educating some of our people who could obtain remunerative employment in technical applications. This is something which should be looked into. When we are training people, we must do so intelligently. We must examine all the possibilities and we must not educate them in a field where there is no need for them. We must educate them in a field in which there is a great demand for their services.

There is a close link between the problem of general education and the problem of training. There is some evidence that An Cheard Chomhairle have not paid sufficient attention to the problem of general education and have laid too great emphasis on education for a particular type of employment. That is certainly the impression which some people who are close to this problem have. That is why those of us concerned with the Fine Gael policy on education stated that it is our intention to review the whole problem of general education with a view to ensuring that provision is made for the general education of apprentices. I should hope that this is something for which the Minister would have regard and that he would examine the general adequacy of the apprenticeship courses, for younger people particularly, to ensure that the general education available in the course of their apprenticeship is adequate for the needs of the people being trained and their ultimate personal development.

Another deficiency of our system of training in relation to the technician category is that at the present moment such courses as we have for technicians are geared to undue specialisation in English training certificates which are unsuitable for Irish conditions. In a small country where specialisation is very necessary, broader courses and examinations are needed at a somewhat higher level than some of the specialised courses in Britain. It is in regard to that that the Fine Gael policy has suggested that steps be taken to establish Irish course certificates, which are specially geared to our needs. This is a matter which I commend to the Minister, recognising, however, that the whole course of technician training is something which would fall outside the scope of the particular authority whose work we are discussing on this Bill.

It is clear to anyone who has any association with Irish industry that there are serious deficiencies in almost any industry in regard to training arrangements. There are many reasons for this which are evident. The small size of Irish industries makes organisation seem difficult. We have had many plans in industrial development in certain industries such as the footwear industry in Dundalk and the woollen industry in Cork. On the whole, our policy in regard to industry has been rather haphazard. Some of this is caused by the nature of our industrial development, particularly in the 1930s, and this has created serious problems.

This is a particular area in which the adaptation councils have made some progress, despite the fact that they have not been as successful as was hoped. They have found a role for themselves in training areas. This is pre-eminently an area in which co-operation between firms can yield results. In regard to training, co-operation, not only between firms but between management and different units, has come easy. Most adaptation councils have found they have been able to work well and easily with trade unions in developing skills for particular industries. This is something which should be flexible and imaginative. I should hope the Minister will adopt a flexible approach to this problem.

One industry with which I had some association is the hosiery industry. The adaptation council came to the conclusion that the best way to tackle this industry was to establish a mobile training unit which could move from factory to factory. This may not be the particular solution to this whole problem, although I suspect that it may be a solution to the problem of many industries in this country. They may find that this type of training is a good one. I hope the Minister will provide a degree of flexibility in regard to the solution of this problem. I hope he will recognise that the solution to the problems of a particular industry may not be the solution to the problems of all industries. I hope he will recognise that each different industry has its own particular problems.

Much has been attempted in this country in the field of training facilities for industry in a vocational form. There was great goodwill on the part of the vocational schools, the vocational educational committees, the CEOs and the principals of the schools, but progress has been slow partly because of a progression of industry and because training has not until recently reached as high a priority as had Irish industry. All too often it has been abandoned and this abandonment arises from lack of support from industries. This reflects a deep-seated belief by many industries that training in the vocational schools is not really satisfactory or appropriate. They believe that unless the training is carried out in the factory, it will not yield the results sought.

We must face and accept this conviction on the part of many industries. It is something which may be well-founded and, even if not, it is easier and better to work along the lines industry wants than to try to force on them a scheme of things they are not prepared to accept. We must not think too much in terms of this being carried out in vocational schools. It may be done in some cases but not in others, and training facilities will have to be provided in the factories, possibly with the assistance of the vocational schools and under the auspices of An Chomhairle Traenála. Perhaps because of the small numbers involved and the impracticability of such courses in small numbers, the answer will lie in training outside Ireland and this is true of the higher rather than the lower levels. However, for certain skills, it might apply at relatively low levels. The Minister should be prepared to adopt the solution of sending people to Britain for training, if this proves to be the most effective method of overcoming the problem which might arise because of the small numbers involved.

The Bill makes provision for a levy on industry to finance training schemes. I would welcome this levy in principle. The Minister had to make a decision here on whether he would seek power to impose such a levy, which is something potentially unpopular, or whether he would avoid this particular method. The Minister has properly grasped the situation. We are, however, in some doubt as to how the levy is to be assessed. In section 19, reference is made to this, but it is not clear on what kind of basis the Minister envisages assessing the levy. Would it be related to the number of firms within the industry? Of course, this is something which would not be put into the Bill as it would tie the Minister's hands but an indication from the Minister in this respect would be welcome and helpful to the House.

In relation to industrial training committees, section 22 (2) says:

No organisation shall be declared to be an industrial training committee under this section unless it is representative both of substantial numbers of employers in the relevant designated industrial activity and of substantial numbers of persons employed in such activity.

I wonder whether "numbers", if it means what it appears to mean, is appropriate? We are concerned that such a committee would not be established unless it is substantially representative of the industry; in other words, a substantial proportion of the workers in the industry would be within the scheme and the committee would be representative of such a substantial proportion.

In many Irish industries, the number of firms is small and one could envisage the position in which one would not get a substantial number of employees because there might be only two or three firms. Does the Minister intend "proportions" rather than "numbers" and would an amendment to that effect not be appropriate in order to clarify his thinking here, and not tie him down to industries with a small number of firms?

In agriculture, there are two different problems. One relates to the training of people for agriculture and the other to the retraining of people leaving agriculture. The Minister has said that he is not going to cover the training of people for agriculture, that activities of primary production in agriculture, horticulture and fishing have been excluded because training in these spheres is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. I should like to press on the Minister what Senator Dooge has already said. This thinking on the part of the Minister for Labour reflects the origin of the Bill in the Department of Industry and Commerce. It is out-of-date thinking. The thinking in the Department of Agriculture, which has cut itself apart, is that the Department of Agriculture fixes its own targets for the agricultural programme and everything else is fixed by the Department of Finance. Industry and Commerce makes its own arrangements for training and everything else is done by the Department of Labour.

This symbolises the non-participation of Departments in the work of the NIEC and this is a serious weakness which the Government have not yet tackled. They have avoided this to their own disadvantage with a resultant disadvantage for the farmers who feel themselves cut apart in this way and not an integral part of the community. They are involved with the Department of Labour and other Departments but they are set apart and isolated and forced to deal only with the Department of Agriculture and have their affairs handled in this way as if they were lepers.

The time has come to change this. There is no reason why a particular section of the community should be isolated. Training for any economic activity involves similar elements and I should be happier to have the Minister for Labour training in the agricultural sphere as well as in the industrial sphere, rather than have a segregation to the Department of Agriculture to the disadvantage of the agricultural sector of the economy and of the economy as a whole. I should like the Minister, if he is passing the buck, to tell us what the Minister for Agriculture is thinking in this respect. He says it is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and perhaps he will tell us what kind of provision is being made.

I have attempted an assessment of the inflow into agriculture of young people. There are complications in this calculation, as will be appreciated, because there is a low outflow. A certain proportion of farmers' children and farm labourers are going into industry. The entry into industry is 5,000 boys and 500 girls. The figure for girls is obscure and the entry of other women is quite obscure. If the Minister is so satisfied with the training in agriculture that he is not going to be involved in it, can he tell us what proportion of agricultural students are in our colleges? If they want to acquire training in our agricultural colleges, how many places are there for them? Is the Minister satisfied that the present arrangements are adequate if he has refused to take responsibility for this activity?

What about the training of agricultural labourers? They receive no training and are treated as the most unskilled of all. Yet, any farmer who has on occasion had to employ a labourer, would say that a skilled labourer would be of inestimable value and would be well worth extra remuneration. This would raise his standard of living as well as his stature. What steps are being taken for the training of agricultural labourers or is the Minister also avoiding responsibility for this as well as for the training of farmers? Is he handing this over to the Department of Agriculture and what are the Department of Agriculture, in fact, doing about it?

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.

I was, in fact, about to conclude when business was suspended and will keep the House for only a moment or two.

The one point which I do want to say something about, in conclusion, relates to the question of the retraining of those leaving agriculture in contrast to the training of people for agriculture. The Minister accepts responsibility for this function but, considering its importance, considering the extent of the problem, the numbers involved, the social consequences of lack of any training for these people as they move into other sectors, considering all that, the amount of attention given to it in his speech is disturbingly small, one sentence:

A point which I want to stress particularly is that An Chomhairle Traenála will have responsibility for training agricultural workers for employment in work outside of agriculture.

I should like to ask the Minister to expand on that a little. First of all, when he refers to "agricultural workers" does he mean only agricultural employees or does he include people, members of farmers' families, small farmers and others leaving the land? Secondly, does he appreciate the magnitude of the problem?

So far as I can assess—and again my figure is only of an order of magnitude and the degree of accuracy is limited—something like 8,000 to 9,000 people leave the land each year. I mean, literally leave the land; I mean that the actual number of people who are engaged in agriculture who leave that sector in the year seems to be around 8,000 to 9,000. That is quite apart from the number of children of farmers who, without having been engaged in agriculture, take up employment outside that sector. That is a large number of people to be trained or retrained.

How does the Minister propose to cope with this problem? What kind of facilities will he provide? How will he endeavour to get across to these people that these facilities are available? I think this is a bigger problem than the Minister appreciates when he deals with it rather lightly in one sentence, not enlarging on the methods which he intends to adopt to cope with it.

I would emphasise that this is important. The meeting at which the whole question of manpower policy was first raised in this country was the seminar of the Irish National Productivity Committee on Manpower Policies in November, 1963, which was addressed by the present Taoiseach at the opening. In the course of that meeting and in the discussion, it is recorded that the seminar was unanimous—it was not unanimous in everything but was in this—

in its opinion that the rural population in particular would benefit from an active labour market policy, since they form one of the most important potential groups for industrial employment, and their adaptation required special measures.

There was unanimity on the need to tackle the problem but no clarity on how it should be tackled, how seriously the problem should be tackled and whether it will be simply a question of endeavouring to cope with the fringes of the problem or in all its magnitude. I should like to hear the Minister further on this. I should like to hear him develop his plans in this respect more fully.

That is all I have to say except to reiterate what I said at the outset, that the delay in bringing in this Bill is a bit disturbing and that, indeed, in so many respects the tempo of the work of the public service—because it is not simply a question of Ministers or their tempo of work—is not adjusted to the needs of the present day. The contrast between the speed with which problems are tackled in the private sector and the tempo of the public service generally is a disturbing one. Where in the private sector people have a meeting and get something settled in a matter of days, in the public service, months may pass before a letter is answered or some particular work undertaken. The Minister should, I think, have regard to this aspect and should in his Department, which is still in its early stages, ensure that the tradition of a leisurely approach to things will not intrude into his Department. He is in the happy position of being able now to make a fresh start while other Departments are burdened with a long tradition and a tempo of work more appropriate to a more leisurely age.

This Bill would have been welcome at any time but it is particularly welcome now because of our prospects of entry into the European Community becoming a matter of urgency. I should like very briefly to deal with that aspect. Senator Garret FitzGerald mentioned that it is vital for us to have men skilled and trained to compete with their counterparts in Europe. That is particularly important in view of the fact that in Europe itself there has grown up a hierarchy of status between the various countries. Without wishing to single out any particular country, it has become accepted that the Germans and Dutch are remarkable for their skill and precision in various aspects of industry, while the Italians are engaged in work which is in many ways less remunerative than that of the countries I have mentioned.

This has become almost a social facet of the European Community, as we now know it, and one of the problems which will face Italy in particular will be the breaking down of this social barrier in that they have this great pool of unspecialised labour which is not available in other countries and, in the interchangeability of labour between the countries, one feels they are not in many ways reaping the full potential of their labour resources. It is for that reason that I think that, now before we take any steps towards becoming a member of the Community, we should not alone gear ourselves for ultimate entry but we should be taking steps to convey the impression to Europe, which may as yet be somewhat ignorant of our abilities, that we are a nation highly geared and fully equipped to meet the needs of the European society. If we do not do that now, the danger will be that we will not realise our full labour potential.

This Bill gives us the opportunity to build up a sophisticated and fully trained labour force. In this connection it is vitally important, as Senator Garret FitzGerald indicated, that our labour force should not just be skilled for the job, so to speak, but should also acquire a general educational training the better to equip themselves for the social environment of Europe. We are on the verge of communication with a much more sophisticated society than that to which we have been used. It would be idle to equip the man for the job without equipping him for the social environment into which we are to enter.

For this reason I commend very highly this move to introduce An Chomhairle Traenála at this stage but I would join with Senator FitzGerald in recommending that what I might call the acedemic side of the training of apprentices particularly cannot be ignored. There was announced recently a new programme for small industries throughout the country, with pilot schemes in selected areas. This programme offers an opportunity to the Minister to put his industrial training scheme into immediate effect, because here we hope to have small industries, craft industries, which will be engaged in what for many of them will be a new line of production. Obviously to get in at the root of such development is a matter of vital importance and the advantages are obvious. In this regard I would recommend to the Minister that he keep closely in touch with the regulating and governing bodies in relation to the new programme for small industries so that they can be fully integrated and the best possible advantages reaped.

Other than those two general points, I should like to refer to one aspect of this matter which was raised in Dáil Éireann by Deputy Larkin. It is a point which does warrant some consideration, that irrespective of whatever economic situation we find ourselves in, we will have redundancy in certain spheres of industrial activity and as industrial promotion becomes somewhat more streamlined, one may expect more redundancy in some industries. There is, therefore, a strong case in favour of those who would say that some due notice of redundancy should be given to employees in industries which it is obvious will not be able to continue in production. I do not refer here to the ordinary standard notice of a matter of weeks or months which is given nowadays. I feel that the signs will be there and in conjunction with this new body which is being set up, they will be available for all to see and industrial employees who will become redundant should have adequate notice before the industries close of the fact that they will have to seek alternative employment and so that they can submit themselves for the courses which will be made available.

One last point is in regard to agriculture. I am particularly pleased that the Minister has included within the ambit of this scheme workers who have hitherto engaged in agricultural activity and who will in fact now devote themselves to industrial activity. This is going to be a constantly recurring aspect of our social environment here and it is not without relevance to point out that it is very much a factor at present in European countries. It is not a problem known only to Ireland; it is possibly known even more to Italy and to heavily industrialised countries in Europe. It is vitally important that we, as well as other countries, should equip such redundant agricultural workers for the new activity in which they will engage. Therefore I do welcome the fact that they have been included in the scope of An Chomhairle Traenála.

I wonder if there is not some validity in Senator FitzGerald's suggestion that we should also work with those now actually engaged in agriculture and who will continue there. I feel that here is the prospect, that we can promote ourselves as being experts in a particular field, the field of agriculture, and although the Minister has indicated that this is a matter which is for the Department of Agriculture, as he is now setting up a fully equipped and fully advised body to deal with other activities, it might be well to include workers directly engaged in agriculture. The advantages are that we will project this idea of being expert in the field of agriculture rather than possibly not being particularly noticeable for our achievement in that particular sphere. Those are my comments on this matter and they are of course related to the real prospect that we will become members of the European Community. When we do, I should like to see us as people who enjoy the highest possible status, because of our social environment and particularly because of our technical skill.

I am glad to hear Senator O'Kennedy speak of the impact which membership of the European Economic Community will have upon the workers of this country and I am glad to hear some voices raised intelligently in the Government Party about this matter because, as we have said before, and as we will continue to say, the Government have done far too little about preparing this country for the effects which membership of the EEC will have upon us. It is equally true to say that not sufficient is being done to prepare the workers in industry and agriculture for the effects which liberalisation of trade between this country and Great Britain will have upon them. The Minister for Labour has on another occasion been pleased to refer me to this Bill as one of the measures which provide evidence of and bear witness to the Government's awareness of the situation and the manner in which they are dealing with it.

I pointed out the Senator's lack of awareness.

I must say that the Minister has not made the impression upon me this evening that I would have wished him to have made. He has, of course, to play many roles as Minister for Labour. He has to be the great sedative in the industrial world. He is the man who has been built up by Government speakers, members of the Fianna Fáil Party and political correspondents in the press, as the great panacea for industrial ills. He has been at pains in the past few months to retract, to withdraw from that position and to say: "No; I cannot do all these things. An awful lot must be done by management and labour and commonsense must prevail", and a whole lot of other things.

However, that is the placid person people like to think the Minister for Labour is, but this placidity will not do when it comes to dealing with a problem of this kind. Here we must have drive and energy and the capacity to inspire and to make people aware of the problems that exist. These are the things we must look for in the Minister for Labour in relation to the functions to which this Bill is directed. The only impression left on me by the Minister's speech today, having read his speech several times during the afternoon, is one of complacency which I think is a by-product of this placid nature which he has in other functions and aspects as Minister for Labour.

The Taoiseach in 1964 assured the Irish National Productivity Committee, with, I am sure, all the assurance the Taoiseach was capable of mustering when dealing with these matters, that a Bill — this is the one to which he was referring — would be promoted as soon as possible and, he added, in the next session in the Dáil, if practicable. The year 1964 passed, 1965 passed and 1966 passed and now we are in 1967, and the Bill has not yet been enacted. Mark you, there was no urgency on the part of the Government to convene this House, which was available, in the first week of January to discuss this measure. We have wandered on from the 11th to the 18th January and now we are on the 25th.

The Senator took up the time of the House with the Landlord and Tenant Bill.

I did not know that this Bill was ordered for the last day.

Yes, it was. I was awaiting the Senator's pleasure.

The Minister could have had this Bill early in January but——

But we allowed the Senator to take the time of the House with other legislation.

It is indicative of the complacency that has been demonstrated in this regard that the Minister allowed so much time to pass by when this Bill could have been an Act. I regard this matter of industrial training, from what I can hear and from the evidence I have, as one of great urgency, and the Minister in his speech here — any more than the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he introduced it—has not communicated to the House and certainly has not communicated to the public the urgency of the problems associated with industrial training.

It might seem an exaggeration to say that these matters are urgent but the Research and Technology Survey Team appointed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in November, 1963, which reported recently has said there is a widespread shortage of technicians in all sectors of industry. It says:

The situation is so serious that urgent action is required if the pace of our economic expansion is to be maintained.

That is what the survey team found as a result of its activities. I have quoted from page 230 of the second volume of its Report.

What is the month of that?

October or November.

October, 1963?

October, 1966. This came to me in the past few months. The Minister might ask the Stationery Office to publish the dates of reports. I heard Senator Murphy reading from a Government report on which there was no date. I have here a document and one would want a research team to find the date, if there is a date. I am unable to give the exact date when it was issued but it was issued within the past few months. There is no evidence of a sense of urgency on the part of the Minister and he certainly has not communicated it to the public.

This matter of industrial training is a highly complicated one, but we do not have to await the perils that will face us when we become members of the EEC and we do not have to await the perils that will face us when the Free Trade Agreement with Great Britain takes full effect, because we have the evidence here that economic expansion is endangered if we do not increase our supply of technicians.

I do not know what else this Committee has to say in relation to the supply of industrial labour other than technicians, but it is quite clear that there is a great deal of leeway to be made up. I want the Minister to impress upon industry and upon the trade unions the kind of problems with which they will have to deal and the urgency of these problems. I must confess I was dismayed before Christmas to learn that several thousands of people were laid off in the motor assembly industry in Dublin. There was not a word from the Government as to what was to be done with these people. Their Christmas present was double wages and hope for the best in the New Year.

Then there is the highly industrialised northern part of this country. It is disquieting to me to see that the people in the North have no explanation for the sudden collapse of three factories, throwing about 4,000 people out of employment in the past week. When I see that kind of thing happening in Northern Ireland that is so highly geared industrially——

That proves how well advanced we are here.

When I see that happening there and consider how lackadaisical we are as compared with the hard-headed businessmen of the North, who have a long tradition in industry, a much stronger tradition than we have, I am profoundly disturbed at what the position is going to be here in the next few years. We shall have the Minister for Labour and probably the Taoiseach saying, as the Minister for Finance said on Telefís Éireann the other night in relation to the handling of our application for entry to the EEC: "We did all we could, and if we did not succeed, what more could we have done?"

I am saying here and now that we are not doing anything like enough to bring home to industry, both sides of it, the kind of things that have to be done. After dinner speeches or the speeches made at the opening of factories are like water off a duck's back as far as making any impression upon the people is concerned as to what they should be doing and is not being done, and making an impression in regard to the consequences to both sides of industry of their failure to do the kind of things that ought to be done and done rapidly.

I should like the Minister to avail himself of the opportunity in replying to this debate of telling us the kind of things he hopes are going to be done, in a more concrete form than the generalisations that he has permitted himself to indulge in in his speech on the Second Reading of this Bill. I had hoped that with the change from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the Minister for Labour, the Minister's speech would have been somewhat more informative than the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary on the occasion of the Second Reading in the Dáil. I regret to say that except for minor changes in terminology here and there, there was nothing new the Minister had to convey to this House.

The Minister might tell us what had been done by the Apprenticeship Board, where it had failed, who was to blame, the way in which he hopes the new Chomhairle Traenála will deal with the failures of the Apprenticeship Board. If we had had some more information in that regard, our debate here could have been a great deal more fruitful. I think the House would be willing to give the Minister all the powers necessary to make this Board a real going concern and an institution that will bring the results which everybody hopes it will bring and which everybody sees as being necessary.

I must confess that when I read this Bill, as when I read the Apprenticeship Bill of 1959, I was surprised to find that any activity of agriculture, horticulture or fishing, which is an activity of primary production, is outside the scope of An Chomhairle Traenála. The Minister has that simple outlook on agriculture that reminds me of Horace: Beatus ille qui procul negotiis ut prisca gens mortalium paterna rura exercet suis bobus. Here we have the Minister procul negotiis like the prisca gens mortalium following his two cows behind a plough and he thinks in modern times that should cover the activities of primary production. This is what one would read in a primary school-book for children brought up in the city:

.... the planting and reaping of crops, the tending of cattle and other livestock, the production of milk, and so on.

Can the Senator add to it?

If that is what the Minister thinks agriculture and horticulture, as activities of primary production, amount to in this day and age, it is no wonder the farmers of Ireland are dissatisfied with the Government's agricultural policy.

Is it the simple language?

It is the simple concept that agriculture in modern times is merely concerned with the planting and reaping of crops——

Would the Senator prefer it to be written in Latin?

——the tending of cattle and other livestock, the production of milk and so on. If Senator Stanford looked at Telefís Feirme from time to time or its predecessor On the Land, he would not ask the naïve question: is that what agricultural activity as a primary form of production amounts to in this day and age. I would have thought it amounted to considerably more. Look at the whole range of diseases that have to be dealt with in modern times which is involved in “the tending of cattle and other livestock.”

It is covered by that.

That is covered by "activity of primary production," I agree. But look at the complexity of that. I thought that part of the difficulty of increasing agricultural production in this country was to get farmers to change from the methods of prisca gens to the methods required in 1967. I thought part of the reason for low agricultural production was the failure of our farmers to take advantage of the scientific methods made available to them in modern times.

Is it to be said, then, that our farmers can do these things with the same kind of teaching, learning and understanding as the man who followed the two cattle at the time of Horace?

Who said that?

When the Minister decided to exclude from the scope of the Bill——

Because they belong to Agriculture and Fisheries.

It may be because the Minister is bound by Government decisions. But the Government cannot escape the decisions to exclude entirely from the scope of any training the farmers engaged in a life and death struggle at present to compete with English farmers and, in time we hope, with French farmers. This Bill and this concept of a simple agricultural activity, such as the Minister and, to my surprise, some of the Senators on the opposite side subscribe to, is part of the root cause of the failure of Irish agriculture to get anything like the reward it should get from the soil.

I would have thought that the business of horticulture in modern times was a highly skilled one. There is no use saying that grading, packing, processing and so on are being dealt with if the primary product which is to be graded, packed and processed is not up to standard. The sum provided in the Estimates for the training of our young farmers is not going to give them the expertise and techniques they require in modern times to make their way of life anything approaching a way of life as profitable as that of their brothers in industry and commerce.

Another matter on which I should like to hear the Minister is how it is proposed to find the necessary staff to engage in industrial training on a comprehensive scale at an early date in the future. The Minister has said nothing about that. This Bill seems to be like the empty promises of the Minister for Education to provide free post-primary education from 1st September, 1967. There is going to be no free post-primary education, as the public were misled into believing, from 1st September except for those already getting it or the parents of those who can afford it. We may have instant O'Malley but we do not have instant teachers and we cannot provide instant schools. The staff in the schools are not available and will not be available on 1st September, 1967.

You ought to tell him that.

I will tell him that next Thursday. I do not see anything in this Bill or in what the Minister has said which indicates an awareness on his part of the lack of staff to engage in the training of our workers and technicians under the scheme devised by An Chomhairle Traenála. I am aware there is in our universities a gross shortage of the kind of staff who would train the staff who will train the industrial workers. If you look at Table V of the Appendix to the volume to which I have referred, page 216, you will see that in the fields of chemistry, physics, agriculture, biochemistry and so on there is a current shortage of staff. If there is a shortage of staff in the universities, we are not going to have anything like sufficient staff to train the workers who are intended to benefit under this Bill. We find even in the public services, in Government Departments, there are shortages of trained staffs which, one would have thought, would be necessary for the purpose of implementing this Bill in full. I should like to hear from the Minister how he thinks that An Chomhairle Traenála will go about recruiting staff in the absence of an adequate number of technicians, graduates and teachers and accommodation for the purpose of carrying out the functions assigned to them under this Bill.

Like others, I am somewhat perturbed by the fact that there is not anything specific in this Bill in relation to the training of redundant workers. If a choice had to be made between the training of adult redundant workers, who are the breadwinners of families, and the training of young people coming out of school to enter industrial employment, the choice should be in favour of the redundant worker. It does not seem to me that that is one of the priorities in the Bill or that it is spelled out at all in the Bill. In his speech the Minister said:

... it is the intention that An Chomhairle should be empowered to concern itself with all types of industrial and commercial training....

He goes on to say that this shall include the retraining of adults to skilled level by accelerated vocational methods. I have perused the provisions of section 9; it may be that it is in section 9 but I do not find it there. I do not find that that will be one of the particular functions which An Chomhairle Traenála is to carry out.

Having said all that about the Bill, it is correct to say that it is a matter for congratulation and satisfaction that the Minister — as probably it was the Minister himself as Minister for Labour — has been able to get the agreement of management and of the trade unions as to certain aspects of this Bill which were likely to give rise to difficulties at some time in the future. I wonder if the Minister would indicate specifically whether the trade unions have agreed to the provision which will make liable to a fine, not exceeding £1,000, any persons who obstruct the employment of persons trained under An Chomhairle Traenála? I am anxious that the Minister would let us know if the trade unions have agreed specifically to that or, if not specifically agreed to it, indicated that they do not object to that particular provision because it is probably recognised all round that some trade unions wield with undue severity the power they have to limit the intake of apprentices to their particular employments. History can justify their attitude to that in many respects but it can do great damage to the nation generally and be a great hardship to particular individuals. I should be anxious to learn there was that change of mind specifically indicated to the Minister, incorporating that provision in relation to a fine of £1,000 in the case I have indicated.

There is only one further matter to which I want to refer. We ought to be quite clear and specific about where we stand on particular matters. Senator Dooge has referred to the unhappy term which has been given to the body to carry out the functions assigned to it under the Bill — An Chomhairle Traenála. I remember when I was growing up, if you wanted to make an Irish word, you could add on "ála" or "áilte"; then that was regarded as Irish by some, as béarlachas by others, but was not accepted in the kind of academic atmosphere in which we were trained. I do not mind anybody trying to pretend that we ought to show it is a living language but I do think it is a mistake to slap on a title of that kind to a board which will be so much in the public eye and so often referred to by so many people, when it is not a term of art.

Worse than that, this is all part of the idea that if people do not like it, they will have to put up with it and it will be called An Chomhairle Traenála, whether or not people like it. It is a mistake to use terms like that in a Bill of this kind. It is the kind of thing that engenders a disaffection for Irish because people say: "Here are the politicians again making a cod of the Irish language." You get that kind of thing frequently used by Ministers. You have a Minister referring to himself as Pádraig Ó hIrighile, Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin or Micheál Ó Móráin—"in consequence of the powers vested in me... I hereby make the following regulations," and it is signed Pádraig Ó hIrighile, Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin or Micheál Ó Móráin. But, when it comes to the test of their sincerity in the use of the Irish language in putting a name on the ballot paper, they revert to Kevin Boland, Patrick Hillery and Michael Moran——

That is where it hurts the Senator — the ballot paper.

That may be a nice cheap jibe at this stage. I am dealing with what I regard as an extremely bad practice which disaffects people from the Irish language and I am saying that the lack of sincerity is to be gauged from the fact that where it means pounds, shillings and pence, they will not put it to the test and use the Irish name. That cheapens Irish in the eyes of the people.

Might I ask what this has to do with industrial training?

It has to do with the title of the board we are establishing.

If the Senator gives a better title by amendment, I will accept it and that might cut short all the allusions to the people who are not present.

I do not even believe that a good title in Irish is the proper thing.

No Irish at all, then?

I do not believe in it for a body of this kind. If we are talking to English counterparts, or people on the continent who understand English, and refer to our An Chomhairle Traenála, when we mean our Industrial Training Council, it does not make sense.

To the Senator.

To them, and what I object to is that it cheapens the Irish language.

Subject to those remarks, I think the intentions behind the Bill are good. I hope that the tedious manner in which they have to be worked out will be more successful than it would appear it might be and that this Bill, which, in effect, is a reincarnation or transmigration of the Apprenticeship Bill and certain sections of the English Bill, will work out to be a better instrument than the delays which have preceded its introduction would lead one to believe it will turn out to be.

I should like to welcome this Bill and to express the opinion, which I am sure has been expressed before in this House, that it is overdue. In fact, Senator O'Quigley has told us just exactly how much it is overdue. I believe this measure and the proposal to which he has also referred to set up a National Science Council, in the Report of the Committee on Science and Irish Economic Development, to be the most important proposals that have come before us, either in this House or in general with regard to the public in relation to science and technology and their effect on our economy in recent years. The body which it is proposed to set up under this Bill is a well-balanced body, representative of all the interests concerned and its functions are quite satisfactorily defined. I find one worry only in that regard, that is, to my mind, the excessive amount of detail with which some of those functions are spelled out. There is very little, in many respects, left to the imagination and initiative of the body, but, perhaps when a group of civil servants in a Department are outlining such a body and its functions, there is something to be said for having it fairly clearly defined.

I have just two points I should like to have clarified in relation to the Bill. The first is about this group of workers which we have commonly called, up to now, technicians. This word has been used by Senator O'Quigley in a more general sense but we who are interested in laboratory work have a fairly precise idea of what a technician is in that respect. There will be various industries, food-processing firms and so on, who employ laboratory technicians, testing foods during the various processes. Will they be regarded as apprentices in the meaning of this Bill? They are trained in much the same sort of way and if they are to be regarded as apprentices, then we would want to know what is the relationship of their training in other laboratory activities to that of the body which is being set up to deal with them here?

The second point is whether this new body has any function in relation to determining salary scales for these trainees. Various rules are laid down in the Bill about trainees: the standards at which they may be admitted to their training, age, and so on. Is anything to be done about the salaries or wages which they will get as trainees? We find that in relation to the technicians I have mentioned in laboratory activities this is one of the greatest stumbling blocks. We find that they are taken on to be trained for a particular kind of activity as trainees or apprentices, if you like, and just when they have done two or three years of their training, when they are becoming useful, someone else with a lot more money, perhaps derived from Government sources, entices them away. This undermines the whole stability of the training structure. A generally recognised salary scale for trainees in each particular kind of training would be an extremely important factor, giving stability to the scheme for training.

I thoroughly agree with what Senator FitzGerald said about the need to emphasise the initial educational competence of the person entering this training and therefore, by implication, the need to encourage the earlier education of such people. This is another argument which will be dealt with when we come to the report, Investment in Education, which we will be discussing next week. I hope it will help to encourage the Government to make that investment as good as possible and to develop it. These people who go away — if we take it merely at the level of our own interests — to get training elsewhere in technical competence, if they are sufficiently educated to take advantage of it, are available to return to skilled posts so that we will not have to continue in the position mentioned by Senator FitzGerald in which such large numbers of those whom we employ to help us with the higher technical jobs here are not in fact our own people. In conclusion, I very much welcome this Bill.

I think everyone agrees this is a good Bill essentially, and that it was a considerable achievement on the Minister's part to be able to get both the employers and workers to come together and make a basis for the Bill. As the Minister said, the Bill was drawn up after long consultation with these two important groups. I presume that most of the critical speeches were made because this was a confrontation of the people likely to be most affected by it and it was at that stage that you would be likely to get the most helpful criticisims and proposals. The Bill as it stands is the outcome of these protracted talks and negotiations.

There have been some criticisms that the Bill is not before its time, and that it would have been better if it had been introduced two years ago. I do not think any legislation comes before either House before its time. Legislation comes from public pressure and from a realisation by groups of people that some corrective measures are required. It may be because of urgency, or national peril. I would not describe this as national peril. I think it is doubtful that the atmosphere which prevailed in industry over the past few years would have been a good atmosphere in which to try to promote this Bill. This reminds me of the young doctor who was going around his patients and someone asked him if he had a cure for a cold. He said: "No, I have not got any cure for a cold, but if you get pneumonia, send for me. I have a cure for that."

Conditions in industry were such that employers and workers were progressively reaching a point at which some intervention had to be made, and the only intervention possible, in the absence of industry doing something for itself, was the Bill the Minister has brought in. Everyone knows that the Minister and his predecessor in the Department of Industry and Commerce continually exhorted industry to put its house in order to meet the conditions which will have to be met if we enter the Common Market. On another occasion I heard the Minister say that in spite of these exhortations and the very generous financial assistance that would be given, something like 20 per cent of industry only were prepared to help themselves. If they were not prepared to help themselves, I cannot imagine the workers being enthusiastic about doing anything to remedy the position either. This Bill is the result, and I think everyone is glad that it is now before the House.

The Minister rightly said that our most valuable asset is our manpower resources. This asset must be developed to its fullest extent if we are to survive in the different markets. At one time workers were regarded as being expendable. With their new skills and with the expense and difficulty industry finds in getting people of the skills it requires, it now values labour highly and is prepared to put it on its balance sheet as one of its most important assets. It transcends the importance of machinery and buildings because they can be replaced while highly skilled and organised labour cannot.

While the Apprenticeship Board may not have fulfilled all expectations, it has done very useful work. It may be that to get the full effects, it would be necessary to give more acceleration to vocational education, so that the authorities could create the necessary expansion in the schools. In most of the vocational schools, there is such a demand in the various classes that the Apprenticeship Act is getting the minimum of consideration. This can probably be raised on the education motion but it is something to which attention should be given.

Taking it by and large, the Apprenticeship Board may not have achieved all our expectations and may not have provided a cure for all our ills, but it will give confidence to the workers and it will set down guidelines which will provide the worker with the means of forwarding his own interests. We have seen many times the number of round pegs in square holes, of people being confined and limited for the rest of their lives to the point at which they entered employment. Many young people, for want of career guidance, take the first job that comes along and very rarely afterwards do they get an opportunity of bettering themselves either by training for the particular type of employment that would suit them or in any other way.

The Bill will remedy this. It provides for the retraining of older people who may have become redundant or who wish to change their jobs. If industrialists and workers are as enthusiastic about operating this Bill as they were in helping to bring it into being the Bill will be a very good instrument and will do a lot of good in the industrial development of the country.

I welcome the Bill because I regard it as a very important step in the right direction. I hope this legislation will get every co-operation from all sections of the public and that the proposed training authority will get help and every chance — that they will enjoy the goodwill of the people as a whole. If the country is to survive in a competitive, united Europe we must avail ourselves of all the resources at our disposal; we must as a matter of urgency utilise all our manpower to the best possible advantage.

The Bill provides for the training of agricultural workers for other occupations. I have been perhaps distressed, and it is a matter of grave concern to many others, that such a large number of agricultural workers became redundant during the past few months. In other types of industry, if there is a shortage of work it comes to public notice quickly. If a factory closes down with the loss of 200 or 300 jobs the people hear about it immediately but things are very different in the agricultural field. Thousands of people in agriculture lose their jobs throughout the country and nobody seems to mind because it is not brought to public notice generally. In all parts of the country during the past couple of months, many agricultural workers have been let off, and I hope the Minister, as one of his first tasks, will set about giving some ray of hope to these men, many of them quite young. Because their problem is so widespread throughout the country, because there are no big headlines in the newspapers, these people do not evoke the sympathy and the interest their fellow workers in industry get when they lose their jobs. Therefore, I hope the Minister will set up a special section to deal with these people as a matter of urgency.

Some Senators who spoke today seemed to be unaware of the existence of the Farm Apprenticeship Board. I recall sponsoring a motion with Senator Quinlan on this subject in 1962. Subsequently, with the co-operation of voluntary rural organisations, the Farm Apprenticeship Board were established with the co-operation and advice of many professional associations and, of course, the Department of Agriculture. If we are to judge the prospects of success of the Bill against the fate of that board, against the many people now out of work in agriculture, I am afraid this legislation has a bleak future. The former Minister for Agriculture said that £15,000 a year would be available for the Farm Apprenticeship Board. After four years, only £1,200 is available in the current year towards helping that board in the huge task that lies before them.

If the Government are sincere in their drive for apprenticeship schemes, surely they would be inclined to use the existing board and the facilities available to them to demonstrate their sincerity and their ability to put their words into actions and not allow existing services to stagnate for lack of funds. At present not only is the industrial sector of the community in need of better technological advice and education but also the agricultural sector. If the Government and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are sincere in their desire to have a dynamic agricultural industry, they should at least see to it that the Farm Apprenticeship Board are given at least £4,500 or £5,000 a year to enable them to put at least 50 or 100 boys to apprenticeship with many qualified farmers and those whom the advisory services say are the best possible sources of training for our farmers of the future. This is not happening and when we look at the Bill now before us and see in it the many desirable features we get food for thought, reason to ask ourselves if it is just another Bill that will meet the same unfortunate fate as some of its predecessors.

This is a depressing problem and I very much regret that the agricultural sector has been left outside the ambit of the Department of Labour because, as somebody has said, the Department of Agriculture seems to be rather slow or perhaps they do not like to get off the old tracks. It is, indeed, time that the agricultural sector got a break and that the Government should cease to treat them as the Cinderella of society.

I do not wish to delay the House beyond wishing the work and the efforts of the Minister for Labour every success in this great task. I hope he will have the wholehearted co-operation not only of industrialists but of workers so that the people who are lucky enough to receive the benefits of training will avail of them and utilise them not only for their own good and that of their families but for the good of the country as a whole. Perhaps in the near future the Government will find a way of including the 350,000 farmers and their families engaged in agriculture.

I should like to congratulate the Minister on introducing this Bill. To me it appears to be a tremendous success on his part because it must have meant the breaking down of various prejudices which have continued over many years. Today in most industries what is used are semi-skills rather than skills, a vertical training in one particular line rather than a horizontal training. The introduction in this Bill of a course of accelerated vocational training would appear to be a complete break with many traditional prejudices.

Apprenticeship in Ireland is something very different from what it is on the Continent. A young boy who is apprenticed to an electrician, plumber, fitter, or craftsman of any other type, during his first year is given little more to do than run the messages. In the second year, he is allowed to hand the tools to the master. In the third year, he is allowed to do only slightly more and after five years apprenticeship, there is nothing whatsoever to show he is the least skilled. In many cases he has very little skill.

On the Continent, on the other hand, an apprentice at the end of every year has to produce a test piece up to the standard of what would be considered good work for a boy who had devoted himself conscientiously and assiduously to his trade. If his test piece is not up to standard, he is sent back and has to do his first year's apprenticeship all over again. The same thing happens at the end of his second year, his third year and his fourth year and when his apprenticeship has finished, he has to produce a masterpiece. That, too, has to pass. Then he gets his certificate that he is a skilled craftsman. It is something of which he is very proud. He usually keeps it, and keeps the masterpiece which helped him to qualify, for the rest of his life.

In this country, the apprentice, having done in many instances five years of what is supposed to be specialised apprenticeship training, and two years as improver, may work in a factory and do virtually what anybody could be trained to do in six months. He rarely, even after seven years, has had little more than six months training of the type of apprenticeship that exists on the Continent.

I should like, therefore, to congratulate the Minister particularly in this provision for accelerated vocational training. In doing so, I should also like to congratulate the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on having agreed to an adult, intelligent approach to the problems as they exist in the country today. I can visualise that among themselves and among their own unions, there was considerable difficulty. I can visualise also that in those unions where there were restrictive practices, there may also have been considerable difficulty in endeavouring to agree on this Bill by both sides. The fact that employers and trade unions have now in one measure a Bill that is very controversial, and could be very controversial between them, and undoubtedly was, that they have agreed on every item in one Bill, shows that now, and apparently for the first time, employers in Ireland and trade unions in Ireland have realised they are completely interdependent, and the fact is that they must have a new approach to problems.

I congratulate the Minister furthermore in that he succeeded in getting that agreement before introducing this Bill because I could visualise a Bill for this purpose, introduced without wholehearted and complete approval of both parties, having no more chance of being successful than a shotgun marriage. It was suggested that this Bill was over-long delayed. Senator Murphy read from a report of a committee in 1963. I am open to correction in this but this was a report of a committee related to the European Social Fund and our membership of EEC. It was only, therefore, indirectly germane to anything contained in this Bill.

The inter-Departmental Committee was set up, if I am correct, in March, 1965. It brought in its report only in October, 1965 and that was pretty quick, seven months. Between October, 1965 and November, 1966, within 13 months, the Minister had succeeded in getting our employers and our workers to agree on what could be one of the most controversial measures possible. Therefore, to my mind, this Bill is not only the first step in the implementation of a manpower policy but it augurs well for the subsequent steps in that policy. So far from the Minister delaying to introduce it, I consider he is to be congratulated on the speed with which he has succeeded in getting that agreement.

I find it hard to summarise many of the criticisms made of the Bill. Some of them I might describe as facetious, such as the criticisms in relation to the name of the Bill. We were also told we are not bringing home to both sides of industry the kind of thing which should be done and done rapidly. I fail to see what further steps can be brought home to industry, in so far as training and retraining are concerned, that are not set out very clearly and very cogently in the Bill. As the Minister pointed out, very many of our industries are inclined to treat the training of our workers as a Cinderella product of our factories. Training within industry in Ireland, except in some of the more advanced industries, and they are not always the biggest ones, is relatively little used. This Bill provides that those people and those industries which are not prepared to take the appropriate steps to have their workers trained so that those workers can use their skills to the uttermost will have to pay for the cost of the workers' training in other industries, even if they do not wish to avail of it themselves. I should like to congratulate the Minister on this.

The Bill stresses throughout, practically in every section, practically in every page, two very important factors. First of all, the importance of both sides agreeing on the actual form of the Chomhairle which is set up. Five representatives are to be nominated by the trade unions, five by the employers, one representing the Minister for Education and two appointed by the Minister for Labour. This, in itself, gives a balanced board. It will give a balanced opinion and it will undoubtedly lead to good and effective results. We should remember that the most important thing in any country, far more important than capital, bank accounts or even machinery, is technical know-how. Some of us are old enough to remember that Germany after the last war had no machinery, no capital and no credit. It had nothing left but the skills and technical know-how of the workers. With these skills alone, with that technical know-how and with broken down bits of machinery, they built up factories such as Volkswagen and many more of the enormous factories in Germany today.

What about Marshall Aid?

This Bill, in every portion of it, stresses the importance of technical know-how.

The Minister has been criticised because he did not incorporate in the Bill provision for the training of persons engaged in producing the primary products of agriculture. I feel that if he had done so, it would have been bad both for agriculture and industry. Training in bulk is completely different. The farmer who wishes to do his own machinery repairs and certain things of that nature can gain under this Bill, or the farm labourer who wishes to do this work can gain, but group and bulk training in industry is different from the type of training on farms where it is individual, where it must be given on the spot.

If the Minister had incorporated the two types of training in this Bill, by reason of their complete difference, that is, in the approach necessary, it would merely have meant the collapse of both. The fact that the Minister has not introduced agricultural training in this Bill, however, does not mean that special training for farmers and farm labourers is not needed. This is not the place to have it. I am sure we will all welcome its introduction in another Bill with its own specialised provisions.

I hope, therefore, that this Bill will meet with the success it deserves. I have had some experience with other sections of the Minister's Department and of the Department of Industry and Commerce, and all I can say from my practical experience of them is that if the section of the Minister's Department which is put in charge of this Bill displays the energy and enthusiasm which the other sections in the Department of Industry and Commerce displayed, I have no doubt about the success of the Bill.

A number of people have referred to the delay in bringing this 1965 Bill forward. In view of the agreement reached through the work of the Joint Committee, I think we can overlook the fact that there has been delay. We all agree the Minister did a good job in getting agreement. It is unique to get an agreed Bill coming before the House. That is not to mean that we could not have a better type of discussion. I am glad, as the Minister said, that there is no question of abolishing the training system we have at the moment; in other words, the Minister is showing great faith in the vocational schools. Were it not for them, we would not have any system of training opportunities in Ireland today.

In 1963 when the Apprenticeship Act was passed, there was great activity on the part of the Department and we had visits from inspectors and head inspectors. We had inter-committee meetings and we were assured at that time that there would be no delay in providing accommodation for training industrial and commercial students. I happened to be in Westmeath as Chairman of the Committee in 1963 when the visitors came from the Department. The Minister for Labour was Minister for Education at the time. We were assured that if we did our part, the Department would not delay us. We produced plans for extension of the schools so that we could deal with the Bord na Móna apprenticeship classes. We were supposed to be ready in 1966 but today we have not even a stone on a stone.

That type of delay is detrimental to a Bill such as this which we are about to implement. If we have not made provision by providing the buildings and the teachers we are slipping up badly. Buildings are not to be overlooked and many of the buildings we have are completely unsuitable for the training of apprentices in the various trades. I cannot see that a pre-fab is an answer to a woodwork room; I cannot see that a pre-fab is an answer to a metalwork room. As a matter of fact, a pre-fab cannot be used at all in connection with training of people in metal work.

I should like to pay tribute to Bord na Móna for the wonderful work they did as regards the training of apprentices. They co-operated, and I might say that, too, about other semi-State bodies. They gave every facility to the children who trained. They trained them by degrees. There was no such thing as a child starting at a point and doing the same work year after year, as Senator Nash suggested. The work was graded every year and when they are ready to take up work as fully skilled people, they have got very good training indeed.

The failure of the Government to give the OK to the technological colleges is also something that worries me. In Westmeath, we got the idea that we were to get a technological college. Sites were mentioned and in the centre of the town practically, we bought 4½ acres of land. The present Minister, who was Minister for Education at that time, seemed perfectly satisfied with the site we bought on that occasion but a few days ago we got a letter from the Department telling us the site was too small and that we must look for a site of 20 acres. I would look on that as another holding-up device, something to hold back our work in trying to make this Bill what we all hope it will be. If we fail to provide technological colleges to allow certain types of students with great ability to continue their studies, then I think this measure before us today will not achieve the end we desire.

We know that, in the North of Ireland, they have taken a few steps ahead of us in connection with industrial training. One would begin to worry at so many technicians at the present time walking around in Northern Ireland. There are thousands of skilled men at present and there seems to be no alternative employment for them. If the industries in which they had been employed do not come back to what they were previously — for example, the shipbuilding industry — I cannot, for the life of me, see that type of adult being retrained for some other type of trade.

Under this Bill, we shall meet grave difficulty in retraining adults to be what we call really skilled men in another trade. I hope, too, that when we succeed in getting plenty of skilled people we shall have work for them and that we shall not see what is happening even on this side of the Border today with up to 64,000 people unemployed — quite a number of them skilled — and the same thing is happening on the other side of the Border. If we have people with skills we have good reason to keep them at home to use their skills in Ireland rather than to have to go abroad to use these skills.

I welcome the Bill. I think it is a good measure. I hope and trust we shall experience beneficial results from it in a very short number of years.

Like Senator McAuliffe, I too, am concerned about the activities and lack of activity of the Minister's colleague, the Minister for Education, if we are to accept that there is such a degree of urgency in the resolving of the problems which this Bill is intended to resolve. In this respect we find repeatedly in the Minister's statement references to accelerated vocational training. During the past 12 months, the county vocational education committees have all suffered a curtailment of grants. Unfortunately, we have had to lay off quite a number of temporary staff as a result. One would expect that, during the lengthy germinating process to which Senator Nash and others referred, if no time was lost in the negotiations — which, admittedly, were successfully undertaken — then, at least during that period, the Government would gear itself in other Departments towards the provision of the facilities that will be necessary if we are urgently to implement the provisions of this Bill when it is enacted.

In that respect, in the part of the country I come from, in the more industrially developed part of it, there was a crying need for a new vocational school. We in the county council got the entire support of members all over the county for a site. The site was approved and paid for during the time, I think, when the Minister for Labour was Minister for Education. That proposal to build the new vocational school at Carrigaline has been stopped by the present Government. I was a member of a deputation a few months ago from the county vocational education committee which got the opportunity of bringing this matter personally to the attention of the present Minister for Education. Having heard the representations made by the county committee to the Chief Executive Officer, he turned to the Secretary and, in our presence, issued an ultimatum that if travelling facilities were not provided within eight weeks from that day, he would sign an order to expend £60,000 on the erection of a new school at Carrigaline. We have heard a lot about "instant O'Malley" but, at the end of the eight weeks, we had neither the transport nor the new school and we are under instructions to dispose of the site. If, as he claims, there were some few vacant square yards of teaching accommodation in some nearby school, one would expect that this would be availed of in implementing the retraining and the other activities that will flow from the enactment of this Bill.

In the course of the debate and in the Minister's statement, we had references to problems of redundancy. This is a cold, hard look at the situation at the moment, as we were forcibly reminded, unfortunately, in the city of Cork in the past week where one of our oldest established industries had to let off men. I shall not name the firm but the matter is creating a lot of concern. Therefore, there is no doubt about the urgency of implementing this legislation if it will assist in the retraining of these men. Unfortunately, it is far removed from the myth of providing 100,000 new jobs.

In paragraph 12 of the White Paper issued with the Bill, we read that An Chomhairle will be empowered to take speedy action in the field of training when circumstances seem to warrant this course and it continues by saying that it is, for instance, clearly desirable that An Chomhairle should be able to take quick and effective action where the effects of redundancy in an industry, which has not been brought within the scope of the Bill by order under section 21, could be mitigated by training or retraining arrangements. However, when I read section 21 of the Bill, I cannot find any reference to retraining and redundancy, while we refer to it in the Explanatory Memorandum. Perhaps the Minister would look at that point or maybe we could deal with it more effectively on Committee Stage under the heading of Designated Industrial Activities in Chapter II.

I think the Senator is misreading what I said. I referred to section 21 as the procedure by which An Chomhairle would normally work but they may not work in that way if there is a sense of urgency. That is what I intended to convey.

That sheds some light on the matter. I am grateful to the Minister.

I, like most other members of the House, welcome this Bill very sincerely. I hope that, through its operations, Irish workers and apprentices will continue to illustrate that they can hold their own in a world which is getting more and more competitive and more and more demanding where trained hands and trained minds are concerned. Surely Senator Nash's gloomy picture of apprenticeship in Ireland is long since out of date? To my knowledge, in the College of Technology in Bolton Street — where, until his death, my father was principal — there have been for many years splendid apprenticeship training courses allied to day release schemes. The apprentices there follow intensive training in well-equipped workshops and are taught all aspects of their trades. They are guided and prepared for skilled occupations and the records are second to none in both local examinations and in the London City and Guilds examinations. Year by year we see Bolton Street students going abroad and winning the highest awards near and far in many trade groups.

Having said this, I realise the need for this Bill and for improving industrial training, particularly for our apprentices. Where the Bill deals with the retraining of skilled personnel, where, through changing techniques and for other reasons there is no longer an outlet for their former skills, the Bill is doubly welcome. I hope and trust that it will be put fully into operation at the earliest possible date.

Is mian liom fáilte a chur roimh an mBille seo chun traenáil a sholáthar d'oibrithe tionscail agus tráchtála, mar sa lá atá inniu ann níl aon áit don duine neamh-oilte i gcúrsaí tionscail, i gcúrsaí feirmeoireachta ná in aon chúrsa eile, fiú amháin i gcúrsaí tís.

Tá na pointí uile pléite anois agus níl le déanamh agam ach tagairt a dhéanamh do chúpla ceann.

I want to welcome this Bill, the purpose of which is to deal with all aspects of industrial training, and to emphasise that in the world of today there is no place at all for the unskilled worker, not even in household affairs. For far too long manual work and industrial work have been regarded as infra dig in this country. A great part of the reason for this lies with our educational system. On leaving secondary and vocational school, too many of our children have aspired to white collar jobs and professional jobs. That is one of the reasons that leave us with a lack of skilled technicians and craftsmen.

When I had an opportunity I spent many, many hours advocating the dignity of all types of work. It saddens me today that there are many organisations, and, indeed, rural organisations, that should be interested in manual work and industrial work that are more interested in promoting lectures on music, art, and so on, and the appreciation of these subjects. We all realise that these things are all very well in their place but these organisations could do far more to create a climate of opinion and turn the thoughts of young people towards industrial employment and technical work if they had lectures on good workmanship and good design. The fact that even rural organisations are not interested in promoting lectures on these aspects is one of the reasons why the younger people are more inclined to seek white collar jobs.

I was very glad to see in the Bill that there will be an end to the closed shop because up to date certain trades were in certain families and other people who wished to engage in these trades could not get into them. That is something that will be welcomed by a great many people.

The first aim of apprenticeship training is to fit a person for his job. In the world of today, a certain part of the time of apprenticeship should be devoted to preparing people for leisure. The cry of today is for shorter working hours and a shorter working week. Unless we are prepared for it, the question of leisure will pose for us a bigger problem than unemployment in the years ahead.

I welcome the idea of refresher courses and I am sure many women especially will welcome this idea. On marriage, many women have to give up jobs in which they are interested. When the family is reared, they would be delighted to know that these courses are available so that they can take up work again. Other people who will welcome these refresher courses or these new training course are those who took the first job that offered and never got an opportunity of doing, or preparing themselves for, the work that they would have liked to do.

Another point about factory work is that it is very monotonous. People who are trained for factory skills should also be trained in some hobby or skill to counterbalance the monotony of routine work because it is very dehumanising to spend all day putting a cog in a certain place or putting a nut on something. That is something we should think about.

Somebody referred to the question of the handicapped. I do not think this Bill is the place to deal with handicapped persons. That is a question more for education. I am sure the Government will do all in their power to cope with the problem also.

A very interesting point was made by Senator O'Kennedy, that is, that when we enter the European Market, we should go in equipped mentally as well as in the matter of skills because we are regarded in Europe as a cultured nation and a nation with great skills, as we showed in the Golden Age. I hope that when our generation get the opportunity of entering the Common Market, they will live up to the opinion that everybody in Europe has of us.

All the other aspects of the Bill have been covered. The points I have made are just sidelights. I welcome the Bill and congratulate the Minister on having done a great job and of having brought so many interests together to make it the grand Bill it is.

Táim buíoch den Seanaid as ucht fáilte a chur roimh an mBille agus an méid comhairle a thugadar dom i rith na díospóireachta seo. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon rud le rá agam nach bhfuil ráite cheana féin agam agus an Bille á thabhairt isteach. Níl le déanamh agam ach cúpla rud a fhreagairt.

I thank the Seanad for their advice, which will mainly be for the Comhairle which will be set up. As I am sure Senator O'Quigley will be very pleased to know, I, personally, will not be the force behind the various training courses. The necessary drive which he requires of a Minister in one aspect of his work, if he dislikes it in another, will not be called for. The purpose of the Bill, as he might discover, is to set up a training body which will do these functions and a body with sufficient power to meet the many difficulties which obviously Senators are aware will lie in the course of activities of such a body.

Since the Senator did object to the name, I would be willing to accept a better title as an amendment if such were put down but, in time, An Chomhairle Traenála will become known as "The Comhairle" and that is not too difficult a word. I do not think it will be the biggest of our problems in the difficult years ahead.

The constitution of An Chomhairle will be mainly employer-trade union personnel. The genesis of An Chomhairle was, of course, to meet the needs of our manpower policy from the point of view of satisfying the needs of future industry as well as making employment possible for the great majority of our people. For both these reasons, I think it better that An Chomhairle should concentrate on the industrial and commercial — in the beginning, it will be mainly industrial — side of the activities.

I do not think Senators were fair in overlooking the helping hand in existence in the agricultural sphere from the point of view of education. We have the agricultural colleges, the Veterinary College, the courses in University College and many advisory courses. Apart from all these, if there is a need, I think it will best be met by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. If an independent body with the same powers as An Chomhairle were required in agriculture, that would be a matter for further legislation. If we tried to bring training for agriculture into this measure, we would, I think, fall between two stools. My description of what I regard as primary agricultural activities was given merely to anticipate what Senators would say or ask. I did not mean to be detailed. I did not think it was necessary. I am sure the Senator was merely playing about with what he thought was a fault.

The activities of An Chomhairle cannot, of course, be segregated from the educational system and the provision of the right type of trained personnel has been lacking so far in our educational system. We had a very full provision for an academic course but our provision for technically trained people was quite inadequate. That is why the Government introduced plans, plans which will be more fully explained when the Seanad hears from the Minister for Education, replacing the present two-years course in technical schools by a three-year course, leading to an intermediate certificate equal in standard to the existing academic one. There will be a curriculum of comprehensive subjects from which children can select and through which they will be guided by psychologists and teachers.

The Government also plan a curriculum up to leaving certificate level on the technical side in order that people with the aptitudes can go from either the present secondary or vocational school by following a comprehensive curriculum and showing aptitudes for this technical leaving certificate. It is from that level of education that most of the technicians will, I think, come. This leaving certificate course will be available in all the main centres in which there are big vocational schools. Where, however, the numbers would not be sufficient in any area to support a course for some specialist type of technician, the regional colleges will supply that course.

It is difficult to define a technician. Everyone has his own definition. As Senator Dooge said, it is probably better to leave it quite vague, saying it is 50 per cent theory and 50 per cent practice. In actual practice, I presume each industry will find a particular type of person who is practising techniques he did not invent, techniques which are much more complicated than the actions of an operative. I believe the main educational system will now begin to provide these technicians when this higher leaving certificate course is available. The provision in this Bill allowing An Chomhairle to train technicians is in order to fill gaps which may occur in the vocational system of education. I do not think it is any harm to give this power to An Chomhairle. It is not intended that inefficient people will be trained under courses provided by An Chomhairle.

As well as being unable to separate the activities of An Chomhairle from the general system of education, we cannot separate them either from the functions of the Minister for Industry and Commerce from the point of view of helping to provide further employment. While it is not a function of those engaged in manpower policy to provide employment, I am certain one of the biggest stimuli will be the availability of trained personnel at all levels for existing industry and for new industries. The existence of An Chomhairle, with all its powers, and with the success it deserves, should act as a great stimulus to the provision of further employment.

I should point out here that the Constitution protects the right of an individual not to be directed into any particular form of education or training. When Senator Garret FitzGerald was talking, I had a notion, though he did not specifically say so, that he was addressing himself to the Minister as if the Minister would have power to create so many of one type and so many of the other. We are prepared to provide the facilities for the training and education of people but the people themselves will continue to have the right not to be directed to any particular firm or to any particular school.

The functions of An Chomhairle cannot be separated then from the rest of the manpower policy. I was asked how we would meet the problem of the big numbers leaving the land each year, what training would be available and where? This will be the function of the placement services in the employment exchanges. We hope these services will deal with the entire labour pool, those leaving school, those leaving the land, those becoming unemployed and those becoming redundant. In this service all these will be directed and advised as to where their aptitudes lie. Here, again, we hope to have the advice of psychologists. In this it will be necessary for An Chomhairle to have the co-operation of industry and An Chomhairle will be in a position to compensate firms which help by providing training for these people. The forecasting of our manpower needs will be another function of those engaged on manpower policy, who will guide us generally as to the types of skills needed.

The third matter which cannot be separated — Senators referred to this — is redundancy. I think it was Senator Dooge who said one could not discuss the Training Bill properly without having seen the proposals in relation to redundancy. The discussion here this evening shows, I think, that that is not true. We have had a good discussion on training. Had we introduced the Redundancy Bill first, I am sure we would have been told it was not possible to discuss the Redundancy Bill properly without having seen the Training Bill.

Redundancy is much more complicated, much more highly technical. It has required a great deal of consultation. There was a great deal of consultation and final agreement on the Training Bill. The consultations on the Redundancy Bill have not been so successful. They are not quite over yet. The last personal participation by me in such a consultation will, I hope, be tomorrow. However, the drafting of the Bill has gone ahead rapidly and I hope that the Seanad will have before it in the near future our provisions in relation to redundancy.

I think it was Senator Dooge said this Bill was largely a re-enactment of the 1959 Apprenticeship Act and then went on to prove his own assertion wrong. An Cheard Comhairle set up under the 1959 Act concerned itself only with apprenticeship training and, even at that, it could only make rules and regulations covering training. It could not provide courses. An Chomhairle Traenála, on the other hand, will have a whole host of functions. They can, first of all, provide rules and regulations; they can provide actual training courses for the apprentices; they can give grants to other people to provide courses and they can set up training centres for the provision of accelerated vocational training courses. They will be able to give maintenance and travelling allowances to people undergoing training and they can carry out research into training problems. They can also make recommendations as to the nature of training and standards to be attained and the tests to be applied to see that these standards are reached.

One of the great powers they will have will be the power to raise levies from employers. They will have strong power to secure a proper intake of apprentices and ensure that the accelerated vocational training trainees are allowed to work on the job for which they were trained. The Seanad generally is aware of the good work which has been done by An Cheard Comhairle, and as I said when introducing the Bill, it was only a certain rigidity which made me feel from experience that it should be developed and modernised further. I should like to join in the tributes paid here to the An Cheard Comhairle and the various committees and bodies. It is well to point out that the standards attained by our apprentices have been proved each year in the international competitions in which they won very many prizes, quite outside the proportion of people who were eligible to compete.

I do not know whether I have to defend myself in regard to the delays. It is a good thing that we are not arguing about the Bill but about how long it took. It took a little time at first to get this notion of manpower off the ground. Nobody knew for certain how to approach it but when we did get down to taking active measures and the setting up of an inter-departmental committee to advise us on the administrative arrangements that will face us — that was in March, 1965 — we issued a White Paper outlining all the different aspects. Possibly this is an answer to not bringing in the other Bill but we did bring in a White Paper in October, 1965, which dealt with the whole problem. One could not bring them all in together. As I said, the measures have been quite difficult and highly technical and required a lot of consultation. Really the only delay since we got under way has been due to the amount of consultation which was necessary and desirable. As I said, we could have been here earlier but we would have a lot more controversy and a Bill which was much less satisfactory to present to the Seanad.

In answer to the question about the assistance from the European Social Fund, I gather that this assistance would depend on the circumstances of individual cases. We can take it that little, if any, money would be forthcoming from the Fund towards the type of training provided under this Bill. I should like again to make it quite clear that people who leave agriculture, whether they are agricultural workers or the families of farmers, will be eligible for training courses set up by the Chomhairle Traenála. Of course it can be seen as an enormous problem but not everyone leaving agriculture will need the extensive training suggested by Senator FitzGerald to take up other occupations. It is the intention that An Chomhairle by advice and financial assistance will enlist the aid of industries to provide courses to fit those people for employment in industry.

I do not know what I could do for Senator Jessop in relation to the stealing of technicians trained by hospitals. Mobility of labour is something I have been trying to promote in the minds of people.

The amount during the training stage.

I might be able to do something about that but the setting of a standard salary is something we have not gone into yet because we have, as you know, this system of free collective bargaining and most of our wage structure is negotiated so that we have not set out to fix the level of salaries of any group.

I want to make the point that it interrupts the training of the apprentices if they are enticed away from a particular job to some other firm towards the end of their training. This may happen if salary scales are vastly different as between one section and another for trainees.

One of the problems was in regard to salaries and attracting people from one place to another. I will see what can be done in relation to the period of training. Certainly the question of allowing this training body to fix its own remuneration rates was raised in the Dáil because it is in the Bill that it would require the sanction of the Minister for Labour and the Minister for Finance. The problem is that if this body are not permitted a certain freedom, then in relation to other State bodies, it will be at a disadvantage if they can set higher levels of salaries. However, I hope to be able to tell the Seanad about this on Committee Stage. I would welcome any suggestions from the Seanad or anybody else because when An Chomhairle is set up, I am sure it will be grateful for any guidance. As I told the Seanad before, the setting up of this representative body with an executive should give a great stimulus to training and it will not depend on the activity of the individual Minister, whoever he may be at any particular time. The setting up of this body should not alone stimulate the training but it will be a great stimulus to our further industrial development.

Question put and agreed to.

I understand that the Minister cannot be here on the 8th so that it is a question of either this day week or this day three weeks.

Why not this day week? From our point of view, this is an agreed measure. I did not hear any suggestion other than that in relation to the alteration of the Title.

I suggest that it be ordered for next week, and if there is any objection, we will not take it.

Acting Chairman

We will leave it at that. That is understood.

Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 1st February, 1967.
The Seanad adjourned at 9.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 1st February, 1967.