|Because fewer young people are leaving school, the boot and shoe trade is facing a serious shortage of young people. In the Wellingborough, Rushden and Kettering districts there are 700 jobs waiting for boys and girls.
This year fewer young people will be leaving school than ever before, but there will be a rapid rise in following years.
Mr. L. Poole, general secretary of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, explained that the numbers of school leavers was expected to reach its lowest ebb this year, but to rise rapidly in the following years.
“In 1959 we go up to 450,000 and then drop back in 1960 to 390,000,” he said, giving figures which apply to the whole country.
Following 1960 a more rapid advance is expected until 1962 when a peak of 530,000 should be reached, then follows another decline.
“In Northamptonshire we are getting increasing competition from other industries, but I think we have held our own,” he said.
Miss C. R. Sear, secretary of the Kettering and District Recruitment and Training Committee, said that there are over 200 vacancies for boys and girls, but the recruiting drive was having effect.
In the Rushden district there are over 500 vacancies.
The John White Footwear Group has announced recently that it will start its own training school.
Mr. H. G. Andrew, county youth employment officer, said that normally 3,000 a year leave school in Northamptonshire. But this year it is expected that the figure will be about 2,700.
Mr. Andrew did not expect there would be more than 3,000 school leavers in a year until 1958 and after 1962 (when between 4,500 and 5,000 were expected to leave) it would drop again.
The growth of Corby, the possibility of large numbers of people moving into Wellingborough, and “overspill” are three factors which may solve the problem.
Meantime, manufacturers are doing all they can to make the industry attractive.
They are particularly trying to attract young people who have received a higher education and who can train to eventually take positions of responsibility.