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10 Oct 2005 : Column 344W—continued

Unskilled Adults

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the number of economically inactive adults without a level 2 qualification; and if she will make a statement. [16039]

Bill Rammell: The Labour Force Survey estimates that in England, 49 per cent. of economically inactive adults are without a level 2 qualification. This equates to 2,917,000 people.

In 2005–06 we will develop the capacity of the further education sector to deliver an entitlement to free tuition to study for a first full level 2 qualification. From September 2006, this entitlement will be available across the whole country, providing those adults taking up training with a platform of skills for employability.

Under the new deal for skills we are trialling skills coaching and skills passports to help inactive adults develop the skills they need to return to the labour market and secure sustainable employment.

Video Conferencing Units

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many video conferencing
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units are installed in (a) her Department and (b) each agency of her Department; what percentage of offices have these facilities in each case; and what plans there are increase the number of such units. [16265]

Beverley Hughes: Every DfES building has a number of video conferencing units installed within it as follows:

(120)14 Sanctuary Buildings/6 Caxton House.

As the Department no longer has Agencies, no figures have been included in respect of that part of the question.

At the present time, there are no formal plans to increase the number of Video conferencing units in the Department but we constantly monitor the amount of use made of the studios to inform decisions about the potential need for extra facilities.

Vocational/Academic Education

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to extend existing vocational education schemes; what plans she has to implement new strategies to deliver the necessary skills to meet employers' demands; and if she will make a statement. [15502]

Phil Hope: The Government are committed to ensuring that employers have the right skills to support the success of their businesses and that individuals gain the skills they need to be employable and personally fulfilled.

Our 14–19 Education and Skills White Paper set out a radical reform agenda. There will be a full range of quality vocational opportunities from age 14 for young people of all abilities. We will introduce a new, high quality pathway of vocational learning from 14–19, leading to specialised diploma qualifications; we are piloting a work-focused programme for 14 to 16-year-olds with serious barriers to engagement; we will increase numbers of young people taking apprenticeships and increase the quality of the programme.

The two Skills White Papers set out our strategies for ensuring that skills training meets the needs of employers. The new National Employer Training Programme will provide packages of free training in the workplace, and subsidised training at higher levels, designed for employers and delivered to suit their operational needs. Employers will have increased opportunities to lead the design and delivery of training through the network of 25 Sector Skills Councils, to be completed next month, and 12 National Skills Academies by 2007/08.

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment the Department has made of the impact of (a) graduate apprenticeships, (b) vocational certificates of education and (c) vocational GCSEs on (i) the workforce, (ii)employers and (iii) the economy since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [15503]

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Phil Hope: Graduate apprenticeships were announced in 1998 but subsequently replaced by foundation degrees in 2001, although some sectors still fund their own work based learning at higher education level. No formal evaluation of graduate apprenticeships was undertaken.

Vocational certificates of education (or vocational A-levels) replaced advanced GNVQs in 2000 but have now been redesigned for 2005 as general certificates of education in applied subjects. Just under 40,000 16–18 year-olds finished their VCE in 2003–04. Given how recently these were introduced the Department has not made the type of assessments requested.

GCSEs in vocational subjects were introduced for first teaching in 2002. A relatively small entry of 113,202 sat the first examinations in 2004 and many of the candidates will still be in further education. The Department has therefore not made the type of assessments referred to in respect of this qualification.

Voice Training

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions she has had with the Teacher Training Agency on the role of voice training in the training of teachers; and if she will make a statement; [16311]

(2) what assessment she has made of the role of voice training in the training of teachers; and if she will make a statement. [16312]

Jacqui Smith: Teaching involves a variety of skills and trainee teachers learn how to create lessons where pupils want to learn and where teachers do not need to shout. To meet the rigorous standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), trainee teachers need to demonstrate that they can create such learning environments. Nonetheless, voice care is important for teachers at every stage of their careers. The training leading up to QTS is the very beginning of a teacher's learning about how to teach. Once a teacher has gained QTS they will pursue continuing professional development opportunities throughout their careers including, if their school agrees it is needed, voice care training.

Watermark Project

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department has joined the Watermark project. [16268]

Bill Rammell: DfES was a member of the Watermark project from 2002. Although the project has now ended, our contract with their appointed consultant remains in place.

Departmental Websites

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the websites that come under her Department's responsibility; what the cost was of each in the last year for which figures are available; and how many visitors there were to each site in that year. [15898]

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Bill Rammell: The websites that the Department is responsible for are listed below, along with the number of visits to each for 2004 (the last whole year that stats are available for):,859,230
www, teachernetgov.uk4,308,205
Total number of visits20,893,719

The hosting cost of these sites was £1,235,500.

The Department currently has large numbers of sub-sites falling under the main sites listed in the response and these are developed by policy teams using their own budgets. It would therefore be a difficult and time-consuming task to co-ordinate across all policy directorates and communications teams (for campaign sites) to assess overall costs.

The Department is working towards consolidation of these sites (which run into hundreds) into a small number of sites which specialise in delivering information and services to a particular audience, (e.g. for those working in schools). As well as this the new technical infrastructure, currently in procurement stage, will provide a centralised content management system (CMS) which means that more costs will be centralised, which will deliver better value for money.

Youth Services

Edward Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many youth clubs were available in (a) England, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) Doncaster North in each of the last 10 years. [15064]

Phil Hope: Youth clubs are delivered locally by local authority youth services and national and local voluntary youth organisations. Information is not held centrally on the number of youth clubs run by each individual local authority.

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