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12 Jun 2008 : Column 510W—continued


Science: Training

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent steps the Government has taken to increase skills levels in science and engineering industries. [208857]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 5 June 2008]: The Government are committed both to increasing the number of people studying science, technology, engineering and maths at all levels, and to working with the science and engineering industries to improve skill levels in those industries. My Department works closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and funds STEMNET—the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network—to raise awareness of these subjects and engagement among young people. This includes support for the science and engineering ambassadors scheme which has already enabled over 18,000 specialists to work directly with schools and colleges, offering mentoring, career guidance and positive role models. We recently announced that STEMNET would work towards having 27,000 ambassadors in place by 2011.

On 28 May the Secretary of State announced the first Train to Gain sector compact. This is a partnership between Semta (the Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies), the Learning
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and Skills Council and my Department to drive up employer demand for skills in the science and engineering industries over the next three years. £65 million has been earmarked from the Train to Gain budget for this compact.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is providing £75 million additional funding from 2007/08 over three years for high cost strategic science subjects at undergraduate level, including chemistry, physics and chemical engineering.

HEFCE are also funding the National Engineering Programme (NEP), of which the London Engineering project is the first phase. After creating a successful working model with the London pilot project, the programme will extend to six other cities in England. Managed by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the programme aims to change the face of UK higher education in engineering, by widening participation and strengthening engineering as a strategic subject.

Together with DCSF we have put in place a structure—a High Level STEM strategy group—reporting both to DCSF and DIUS Ministers. This will ensure, across all phases of education, a joined-up approach to initiatives designed to support improvements in the teaching of science as well as those aimed at encouraging young people to take science subjects.

Sixth Form Colleges: Governing Bodies

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether his Department has issued guidance on whether the chair of the corporation of a sixth form college may also be a governor of the college. [210357]

Bill Rammell: The Instrument and Articles of Government for Further Education Corporations, which provide for the constitution and conduct of all colleges, require the members of the Corporation to appoint a Chair from within the governing body (section 6 of the Instrument refers). An individual may be a governor at more than one college. However, the Instrument and Articles of Government require every member of the governing body to act in the best interests of the Corporation.


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Teachers: Sign Language

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will provide funding for models for the training of British Sign Language teaching in addition to Lifelong Learning UK courses. [208128]

Bill Rammell: The Department has no current plans to fund development of British Sign Language (BSL) training. There are existing Higher Education Funding Council for England and Learning and Skills Council public funding streams, through which providers can apply for funds for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses.

Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) has developed a qualifications framework and guidance for the sector workforce, but course design is the responsibility of the awarding institution or sometimes the delivery centre. Importantly, providers of teacher training for the FE sector are independent organisations with the freedom and ability to develop courses which they feel meet sector business needs, including teacher training courses contextualised for BSL.

LLUK requirements do not prevent ITT course providers from meeting the needs of BSL teacher trainees. There are many examples of contextualised ITT courses for particular groups of trainees, such as performing arts or lip reading.

Vocational Education

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many national vocational qualifications were studied for outside an apprenticeship framework in each year since 2000. [209453]

Mr. Lammy: Such information as is available is included in the following table, which shows the total number of LSC funded learners who studied for NVQs outside apprenticeships frameworks in post-16 education from 2002/03 to 2006/07. Figures for other years are not available.

2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07

Further Education

318,840

323,910

329,340

343,450

344,190

Work Based Learning (NVQ training only)

84,460

54,100

30,070

11,870

4,290

Adult Safeguarded Learning

n/a

n/a

n/a

100

40

Train to Gain

(1)

(1)

(1)

26,750

166,010

Total

403,290

378,010

359,410

382,170

514,530

n/a = Not available
(1) Not applicable
Notes:
1. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10; totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. Figures represent the total volume of NVQ learners in an academic year A single episode of learning may be counted in more than one year.
3. Train to Gain started in 2005/06, with full rollout in 2006/07. Due to data limitations for 2005/06 this figure has been estimated using the ratio of NVQs to total learners in 2006/07 (approximately 98 per cent.).
Source:
Individualised Learner Record

Vocational Training

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government have taken to prevent future skills shortages. [210393]

Mr. Lammy: The Government have taken a wide range of action to support employers in securing the
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skills their businesses need to thrive both now and in the future. Our White Paper ‘World Class Skills’ was published last summer. It set out how we will shape the skills system around the needs of customers—employers and learners—to meet the challenge of competing in the global economy. Since then we have pressed ahead with making the skills system more demand led. This includes improving and expanding Train to Gain to help employers identify and address their skills needs. Since national roll-out began from April 2006, Train to Gain has engaged nearly 90,000 employers, enabled over 450,000 employees to begin learning programmes, and over 210,000 to gain new qualifications. We are working with Sector Skills Councils to develop sector compacts, earmarking Train to Gain funds specifically to support the skills those sectors need. Funding for the Apprenticeship programme is being increased, and the programme reformed, so that more employers and employees benefit from high-quality work-based training. National Skills Academies have now been approved in nine sectors.

On higher skills, our recent consultation paper ‘Higher Education at Work’ has launched a national debate on what more needs to be done to meet the need for more—and more employable—graduates, and raise the skills of those already in the work force.

A key aim in taking all these actions is that employers and the skills system get better at responding to future strategic challenges and opportunities—such as a low carbon economy, renewable energy, and the Olympics—focussing on the medium and long term as well as on immediate skills needs.

Over the next three years we will be investing £2.3 billion on the modernisation and renewal of the Further Education estate, supporting investment in specialist new facilities in colleges and training providers, to build the capacity needed to meet our skills priorities.

We are also taking action to make sure the employment and skills system is much better joined up. In April the new UK Commission for Employment and Skills started work. We are publishing today new proposals for more integrated employment and skills services that are more responsive to the needs of individuals and employers, with plans to ensure that delivery systems work more closely together, driven by those who know best how to shape services to meet local needs.

Vocational Training: Finance

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how much is planned to be spent on Train to Gain in each year from 2007-08 to 2010-11; and how much has been allocated to (a) skills brokers, (b) wage compensation, (c) adult basic skills, (d) adult first full Level 2 and adult second full Level 2, (e) adult first non-Level 2 and adult second non-Level 2, (f) adult first full Level 3 and adult second full Level 3, (g) adult first non-Level 3 and adult second non-Level 3 and (h) higher education Level 4 provision in each year; [209789]

(2) how much was spent within Train to Gain on (a) private employers, (b) public employers, in each sector and (c) voluntary employers in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; [209790]

(3) how much is expected to be spent within Train to Gain on (a) 16 to 19 year olds and (b) people aged 19 years and older from 2007-08 to 2010-11; [209791]


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(4) how much is expected to be spent within Train to Gain on (a) volunteers, (b) the self-employed, (c) employees, (d) full-time employees and (e) part-time employees in each year from 2007-08 to 2010-11. [209792]

Mr. Lammy: Since it was rolled out nationally from April 2006, Train to Gain has grown quickly. It has now engaged over 92,000 employers, supported nearly 455,000 employees to begin learning programmes, and delivered 186,720 full level 2 and 23,480 Skills for Life achievements. Recent evaluations of the service show that both employer and employee satisfaction with their experience of Train to Gain is high.

Since January 2008 both volunteers and the self-employed have been able to access high quality vocational skills training through Train to Gain. In a demand-led service like Train to Gain, the distribution of learners between different sectors, types of employees, volunteers, and the self-employed is driven by employer demand for and take up of the service. Recently completed evaluations show that a wide spread of industry sectors are accessing the service. We will continue to monitor that distribution through ongoing evaluation.

Government are investing more than £26 billion for 16 to 19-year-olds to participate in learning over the period 2007-08 to 2010-11. The Train to Gain service funds training for people aged 19 years and above. A breakdown of planned Train to Gain spend, by level, for the period 2007-08 to 2010-11 is set out in table 1. A breakdown of actual spend for 2007-08 will be available shortly, and I would be happy to share that with the hon. Member.

Table 1: Planned Train to Gain spend, 2007-08 to 2010-11
£ million
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Skills for Life

31

35

40

45

Full level 2

447

526

620

640

Full level 3

40

94

117

338

Developmental learning

2

1

0

0

Total

520

656

777

1,023


We have not to date funded ‘second’ level 2 or 3 qualifications within Train to Gain. As we agree new ‘compacts’ to ensure that the Train to Gain offer meets the particular needs of each key sector in the economy, we will identify those qualifications that are priorities for each sector, and offer some increased flexibility on funding for those qualifications.

Skills brokers work with employers to consider their skills needs at all levels, including level 4 and above where appropriate. We are currently working with the higher education sector to test how best we can offer an all-levels service through Train to Gain, through for example, the Higher Level Skills Pathfinders operating in three regions (NW, NE and SW).

Wage compensation will continue to be available over the period to 2010-11 for SMEs with fewer than 50 employees. Spend will be determined by employer take-up.


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From April 2009, the Train to Gain brokerage offer will be integrated with the wider business support available through Business Link, and DIUS currently expects to invest £37 million in each of 2009-10 and 2010-11 to support delivery of that service.

Health

Abortion

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date the 2007 Abortion Statistics will be published; if he will place copies in (a) the Vote Office and (b) the Library; and if he will make a statement. [209094]

Dawn Primarolo: The ‘Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2007’ will be published on 19 June 2008. Copies will be placed in the Library and will be made available in the Vote Office.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis was for the statements made by the Minister for Public Health on 20 May 2008, Official Report, column 246, that a reduction in the current limit for abortion would (a) force women to give birth to unwanted children and (b) lead to women travelling abroad and seeking abortions elsewhere; and if he will make a statement. [209105]

Dawn Primarolo: Every Member of the House spoke and voted in accordance with their conscious. It is a matter for each Member to decide the case they wished to advance.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many discharges there were from hospitals after septic abortions in each year since 1990. [209113]

Dawn Primarolo: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is shown in the following table.

Sepsis as a complication of abortion, up to time of discharge from place of termination, residents England and Wales, 1990 to 2006
Sepsis up to time of discharge Total complications up to time of discharge

1990

48

671

1991

63

656

1992

55

727

1993

44

649

1994

77

738

1995

66

659

1996

57

515

1997

62

490

1998

34

382

1999

35

420

2000

62

454

2001

65

373

2002

51

473

2003

15

503

2004

11

384

2005

14

319

2006

21

368


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