Association of Technical Institutions


    PAPERS read before the annual summer meeting of the Association of Technical Institutions, held at Brighton on June 22-23, included “Apprenticeship and the Irish Apprenticeship Act”, by Mr. R. R. Butler, of the Aston Technical College; “National Scheme of Foundry Education”, by Mr. J. G. Pearce, director of the British Cast Iron Research Association; and “The Function and Operation of Junior Instruction Centres”, by Mr. Valentine A. Bell. Mr. Bell's paper insisted that the work of the Juvenile Instruction Centres has consistently followed the general purpose of preventing “demoralisation likely to result from unemployment” and “facilitating the absorption of boys and girls into employment as soon as opportunity may occur”. Mr. Bell, who has visited these centres in various parts of the country, dealt with criticism levelled against them. He did not fail to stress difficulties such as those of staff recruitment (since “there was no guarantee as to how long the centres would remain open, it was difficult to find men who had permanent jobs to take up this new work”), but his answer to the criticism so often made, namely, little good can be done where the average length of stay per student is only three weeks, is to the point: “Those who merely study statistics are easily inveigled into making rash statements. … I may have had 10,000 through my Centre during the past four years. Thousands may have found work within a week, but hundreds have stayed with me for six months or more, yet the average may work out at only four weeks.”

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    Association of Technical Institutions. Nature 134, 72 (1934).

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