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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Following the launch of the Learning Age Green Paper (DfEE 1998) we did pump prime an initiative known as the Graduate Apprenticeship. These combined a higher education qualification (honours degree or higher) with structured work based learning underpinned by key skills and national vocational qualifications units. This early work provided a useful platform for developing foundation degrees which are now the main vehicle we have for expanding vocational higher education opportunities. They are designed with employers and combine work based learning with academic study. Since they were introduced in 2001 they have grown in popularity and there are currently 37,000 students on these programmes studying either full time or part time, including those studying with the backing of their employer. We are also working with HEFCE, the LSC and Sector Skills Councils at ways of strengthening progression for apprenticeships into higher education, including through foundation degrees, and we're still working with those sectors who feel there is still scope for a level 4 apprenticeship.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the shortfall in the London area of trained (a) plumbers, (b) construction workers and (c) electricians. 
|Average annual requirement|
CITB-Construction Skills are one of the first four Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) to develop and publish a draft Sector Skills Agreement which articulates proposed action to address the construction sectors skill needs. Their proposals include setting specific industry targets for increasing the number of companies investing in training and increasing the number of workers completing apprenticeships.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many formal references to her Department by heads of schools with suspicions about child abuse activities by members of staff have been made in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The information requested is not collected in a format to allow an answer to the question as asked. However, figures representing the total number of referrals to the Department in each of the last three years are set out in the following table. These include both child abuse and non child abuse issues from all sources that are required to report concerns to the Secretary of State, including local education authorities, supply agencies, school governors, the police and headteachers.
|Number of referrals from all sources|
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people claimed education maintenance allowance in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by constituency. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information on the number of young people who have applied, enrolled and been paid EMA is available at local authority level rather than by constituency. The last complete academic year (2003/2004) for which figures are available is 2003/04.
|205||Hammersmith and Fulham||951|
|301||Barking and Dagenham||987|
|810||Kingston Upon Hull||2,061|
|812||North East Lincolnshire||1,394|
The figures include £23,700,000 and £100,700,000 Private finance initiative credits in 200203 and 200304 respectively. Capital expenditure on schools in a particular year will differ from the above due to timing differences, the level of resources available locally, and priorities in the local asset management plan.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK intends to participate fully in the new Europass initiative for the benefit it will bring to people wanting to explain their qualifications and competences when moving throughout Europe. We are now in the process of appointing a National Europass Centre to coordinate activities.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on European Communities planned actions in the field of youth, with particular reference to projects arising from COM (2004) 337 and from the New Impetus for European Youth White Paper. 
In July 2004, the European Commission published its proposal for a decision to create a Youth In Action programme for the period 200713". This is the only planned action involving projects in the field of
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youth. The proposal is currently being negotiated in Council Working Party and the timetable for the completion of this negotiation is at present uncertain.
Since then, EU Youth Ministers have agreed common objectives for all four policy areas in the form of Council Resolutions. Document COM (2004) 337 contained the proposals for common objectives for voluntary activities.
The Commission will invite member states to report on their progress towards meeting these objectives by the end of 2005 (participation and information); by the end of 2006 (voluntary activities) and by the end of 2008 (a greater understanding and knowledge of youth).
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