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An important extension, of the scheme for the training of soldiers in civilian occupations has been arranged by the ite'patriation D'epartnient. Considerable diiticulty has been experienced by die Department in arranging suitable courses of instruction" for tne men at ihe technical-schools, and consequently it has been decided to establish special classes. Suitable premises have already been secured in Wellington, and instructors are being .engaged through liio .'Kducation Department, 'ihe classes will; provide intensive instruction of the kind'required by the returned soldiers, and t-lie instructors .will be able to give individual instruction to the


The Department up to -the present time lias put approximately 320 men into private workshops and factories, and has provided 280 men with coxirses of instruction in the technical schools. These men get allowances from the Department wane they are studying, and the training has so far given good results. The difficulty in regard-to the technical .schools has been that the soldiers had to mix with ordinary students, mostly youths,, and could not easily he provided with sufficiently rapid instruction. The number of hours devoted to instruction in each 'week was not large enough, and the instruction was not individual. The directors of the technical schools have done their best, but they have not had the means at their disposal to make an unqualified success' of the training of returned soldiers.

The Department is starting its own technical classes for the vocational training of discharged at once in Auckland,- Wellington, and Dunedin. It is leasing buildings : where necessary, engaging instructors ' aiid providing equipment. Classes will be provided in any technical branch for which there is a demand. The demand at present is principally for instruction in commercial work, engineering, woolclassing, and woodwork. The instruction is to be given a thoroughly practical form.' Tbe Wellington- motor engineering class, for example, has been provided with a couple of old motorcars, in addition to plant for repairing and refitting. Tlie men will be given workshop training. The. commercial classes will"be'carried to the stage of accountancy if required. The Department is . initiating arrangements for the opening of classes in Christc'hureh and Invercargil'l.

''The icleit of the new classes," said a representative of the .Department, "is to give the returned men a short period, say, four to six _ months, of intensive training in their chosen occupation, and then draft them to worki shops and factories, where they will acquire the remainder of the practical knowledge they need in. order to ren-- / sii v& success. '"The- men will save -time by this means, since they will enter the workshops with a sound grounding, and will not have to pick up elementary knowledge wbile in private employment. They will be useful workers before they begin to earn wages. The experience* of the Department does not suggexSt that the number of returned men requiring training in new occupations will be very large. Possibly it will ,not exceed 2000 altogether. The great majority of the fit men prefer to resume then- old occupation^. ''We will provide training for the returned men hi any subject, if there is a sufficient number to form a class, and if the prospects of profitable employment in the selected lines are reasonably good. Obviously it would serve no good 'purpose to train men for work that they cannot reasonably expect to obtain in" this country. We have to consider industrial prospects: The danger of training too many men ■ for a particular occupation probably will not arise unless the total number of trainees becomes larger than the Department expects. We may undertake the training of men in the. different branches of' farming. Already we have almost completed arrangements, through the Agricultural Depai-tment, to establish a special training farm for men recovering from tubercular disease." The Repatriation Department will pay sustenance allowances to'discharged soldiers while they are attending the special training classes. These alI lowances are inclusive of pension, and the scale is- framed to secure to the unmarried soldier a weekly income of £2, 10s, and to the married soldier a weekly income of £3, with an additional allowance for .each child. When the soldier enters' a factory or workshop to complete his practical training, the '.Department, if -necessary,, will make up his wages to £3 a week or the minimum wage in the industry. The pension of the soldier or his wife is not taken into account in fixing this allowance, but half of the sura provided by the' Department is withheld until the man lias completed the course of training. The accrued money is then- paid over in a lump sunt. Tho men attending the special classes are to be given intensive instruction for five or six hours a day, and they will be required to attend regularly in order to qualify for the sustenance grant. Instruction at the technical schools will continue to be available for returned-discharged soldiers who wish to receive it. Some of the. men, wishing to improve their knowledge and their earning capacity, are attending -schools in the evening after their day's work.

The range of subjects covered by the training offered by" the Repatriation Department is wider than many ireople realise. The Department has .stated its readiness to provide' training for carpenters, furniture makers, cabinetmakers, other woodworkers, saddlers, trunk makers, shoemakers, engineers (in various branches), motor mechanics, metal and wire workers, electricians, tailors, drapers, bookkeepers, office workers. wool-clas.sers, and other workers.

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Bibliographic details

REPATRIATION, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9589, 19 April 1919

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REPATRIATION Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9589, 19 April 1919

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