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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans he has to ensure that apprentices who become unemployed are able to complete their apprenticeships in alternative employment. 
Mr. Simon: We have established a matching service to help those apprentices in the construction sector at risk of redundancy to find alternative employment and to complete their apprenticeship. We are currently working with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to explore how this approach might be extended to other sectors. More generally, providers and the LSC have procedures to advise and relocate apprentices in cases where providers or employers fail, to help ensure that they are able to continue in work and complete their apprenticeship. Such arrangements are being used to help former Woolworth apprentices complete their apprenticeship framework and find alternative employment or training.
The £140 million package announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister last month for an additional 35,000 apprenticeship places will help fund new provision in both the public sector and private sector, and will extend the opportunities available to people facing redundancy. This package will further boost the number of people starting an apprenticeship which has increased from 65,000 in 1996-97 to 225,000 last year.
On 12 January 2009 the new online National Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service went live. The first chief executive of the new National Apprenticeship Service took up post this week and our National Apprenticeship Service will be fully functional from 1 April 2009 with a remit to expand apprenticeships and provide a single point of contact for employers and apprentices. To raise awareness and encourage more employers to take on or offer more apprenticeships a new national advertising campaign started on 2 February, fronted by Sir Alan Sugar.
Our New Opportunities White Paper published 13 January 2009 announced the Government's commitment to extending group training associations; ensuring all apprentices have clear progression routes; and commitment to work towards an entitlement to an apprenticeship for all young people leaving care. Looking to the future, we have set ambitious targets for the growth of the apprenticeships programme. Apprenticeships provisions will be taken forward as part of forthcoming legislation, including provisions to ensure that an apprenticeship place is available for all suitably qualified young people by 2013.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people began an adult apprenticeship in the last academic year; and how many such people were in employment when their apprenticeships began. 
Information about apprentices' employment status at the start of their apprenticeship is not available. Total starts figures are provided. Framework completions (all ages) have increased from 39,000 in 2001-02 to 111,800 in 2006-07 and 112,600 in 2007-08.
|Table 1: Adult apprenticeship starts by age in 2007-08|
1. Age is based on age at start of course.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking in West Chelmsford constituency to increase the number of apprenticeships. 
Mr. Simon: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) on 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 448W. We are taking a wide range of steps to encourage more people to take up apprenticeships and to encourage more employers to offer high quality places both in West Chelmsford and across the rest of England. On the 4 February we introduced our Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, including provisions to an entitlement to an apprenticeship place for all suitably qualified young people from 2013.
The Government are committed to apprenticeships and since 1997 we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 64,000 with only 27 per cent. completions to last year's record high of 225,000 with 64 per cent. completions, a remarkable achievement.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many new apprenticeships have been created in (a) Cumbria and (b) Copeland constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Simon: This Government are committed to apprenticeships. Since 1997 we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 64,000 with only 27 per cent completions to last year's record high of 225,000 with 64 per cent. completions, a remarkable achievement.
Tables 1 shows the number of apprenticeship starts in Cumbria local authority, Copeland constituency and the total for England. Figures are presented from 2003-04 to 2007-08, the latest year for which fully audited data is available.
|Table 1 : Apprenticeship starts in Cumbria local authority and Copeland constituency, 2003-04 to 2007-08|
1. Volumes for Cumbria are rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Volumes for Copeland constituency are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Percentages are based on unrounded figures.
4. These figures include WBL (apprenticeships only).
5. This table uses programme starts/completions as a measure for comparative purposes. Full-year numbers are a count of the number of starts/completions at any point during the year. Learners starting/completing more than one course will appear more than once.
6. Local authority and constituency are based on home postcode of the learner.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding has been provided by his Department to support apprenticeship schemes in (a) Cumbria and (b) Copeland constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Simon: Information on apprenticeships funding in Cumbria is provided in the following table. This funding relates to providers contracted in the LSC Cumbria area and is not available at constituency level.
Since 1997 we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 64,000 with only 27 per cent. completions to last years record high of 225,000 with 64 per cent. completions, a remarkable achievement. We will build on this with funding for apprenticeships in England planning to be increased to over £1 billion in 2009-10. Last month my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a £140 million package to provide 35,000 extra apprenticeship places in the coming year.
|LSC Cumbria apprenticeships funding allocation|
|Apprenticeships funding allocation (£ million)|
Learning and Skills Council.
Mr. Simon: Since 1997 we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 64,000 with only 27 per cent. completions to last year's record high of 225,000 with 64 per cent. completions, a remarkable achievement.
|Table 1: Apprenticeship Starts in 2005-06 to 2007-08|
1. Parliamentary Constituency is based on learner's home postcode.
2. Numbers for Leeds West have been rounded to the nearest ten.
3. Numbers for England have been rounded to the nearest hundred.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what percentage of (a) prisoners and (b) young offenders in HM Prison Chelmsford he estimates have literacy problems. 
Mr. Simon: The Department does not routinely make estimates of the percentage of offenders, by establishment, with literacy problems. The first report from the Ministry of Justices Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction study (The problems and needs of newly sentenced prisoners: results from a national survey, October 2008) showed that 48 per cent. of young offenders starting a new prison sentence and 46 per cent. of adult offenders starting a new prison sentence had no academic or vocational qualifications.
The principle of screening all offenders, with a full assessment of those who take up learning, lies at the heart of offender learning and skills delivery. Following the October 2008 Public Accounts Committee report, we are working closely with the Ministry of Justice to strengthen the screening and assessment process. Later this year, the Learning and Skills Council will introduce a new screening tool, developed in consultation with Dyslexia Action, to screen for a range of learning difficulties.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many staff in his Department have been disciplined for (a) bullying and (b) harassment of colleagues since its inception. 
Mr. Simon: The information could be obtained only in the form requested at disproportionate cost as once individuals are appointed to the Department, having cleared nationality, passport, proof of identity, reference and criminal records bureau checks, our human resource information systems do not distinguish between EU or non-EU nationality.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. 
Mr. Simon: Members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme receive an annual benefit statement showing the pension built up to date, and also a projection of their pension on retirement if they continue in service to scheme pension age. The benefit statement prompts the member to consider boosting their pension and provides details of the civil service pensions website (www.civilservice-pensions.gov.uk) where staff can obtain further information, including options for making additional voluntary contributions and a calculator to work out costs for added pension (previously added years).
The Cabinet Office provides leaflets that explain added pension and additional voluntary contributions for members. The information is also available in scheme booklets. These are available on the civil service pensions website or on request from the members pensions administrator.
In the Department, the human resources intranet site which is being developed will include detailed information on the pension options available to staff. The new site is due to be launched in April. In the interim, staff are signposted to DIUSs pension administrator and the civil service pensions website for information.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which of the public appointments for which his Department is responsible are due to be (a) renewed and (b) filled in the next 24 months; what the (i) remit, (ii) salary, (iii) political restriction, (iv) eligibility requirement and (v) timetable for each appointment is; and what records his Department keeps in respect of such appointments. 
Mr. Simon: Information on appointments made by my Department is published on the Department's website. More detailed information about individual appointments is set out in the relevant body's Annual Report. Vacancies may be advertised on the Cabinet Office Public Appointments website at:
The process for making a public appointment, including guidance on political activity and eligibility criteria, follows the Cabinet Office publication Making and Managing Public Appointments. For appointments regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, the appointments process also complies with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies. Copies are in both Libraries.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2009, Official Report, column 952W, on redundancy, what estimate has he made of the annual payroll savings resulting from staff exit schemes in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07, (c) 2007-08 and (d) 2008-09 excluding the cost of severance packages; and what estimate he has made of the equivalent figures for 2009-10. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which colleges submitted applications in respect of the Building Colleges for the Future programme for approval in (a) principle and (b) detail at the December meeting of the Learning and Skills Council; and if he will make a statement. 
Capital funding for further education colleges is administered by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and I have asked Mark Haysom, the LSC chief executive, to write to the hon. Gentleman with the further information requested. A copy of his letter will be placed in the House Library.
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