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11 July 2007 : Column 1530W—continued

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many apprenticeships were not completed in the last year for which figures were available; what the principal categories of reasons for non-completion were; what percentage of cases fell within each category; and what total financial cost was associated with non-completion of apprenticeships. [148226]

Mr. Lammy: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) uses individual learner level data to calculate overall apprenticeship framework achievement rates. Over the past few years the framework achievement rates have increased dramatically from 24 per cent. in 2001-02 to 59 per cent. so far in 2006-07. Framework completion relates to achievement of elements—NVQ, technical certificate, key skills and employer rights and responsibilities. Apprentices who do not achieve all elements are not counted as full achievements but may well have completed one or more of the components including a vocational qualification. The LSG does not collect data on all the reasons for non-completion, or circumstances of partial completion, of full apprenticeship frameworks.

Estimates of the cost of non-completion, or partial completion, of apprenticeship frameworks could only be obtained by analysis of individual learner data and at disproportionate cost.

Apprentices: Per Capita Costs

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what the variable unit cost is of providing an (a) level one and (b) level two apprenticeship course; [148216]

(2) what the average unit cost of providing apprenticeship training is in each region. [148210]

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Mr. Lammy: There are currently no Level 1 apprenticeships, only Level 2 and 3. The funding of apprenticeships is based on national rates for each sector framework The published rates for the apprenticeship programme are detailed in the Requirements for Funding for Work Based Learning 2006-07. The link to the document is as follows,

A hard copy will be placed in the Library.

Apprenticeship rates vary on a sector framework basis and do not vary by region of the LSC. Providers may be entitled to a disadvantage uplift based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000 and calculated on their historic recruitment patterns. The published national rates for apprenticeships are contained within the ‘Requirements for Funding for Work Based Learning 2006-07’ document. The link to the publication is as provided previously.

Biotechnology: Research

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which research projects his Department has conducted on agricultural biotechnology in each of the last 10 years; and what the cost was in each case. [146079]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 28 June 2007]: Since its commencement in 2004, the DTI’s Technology Programme has offered support for research in agricultural biotechnology for one project, which is called “Contained Agronomy for the Production of Plant Based Pharmaceuticals”. The project is forecasting project costs of £787,000 and has been offered support of £393,000.

Two research projects that are considered to fall into the definition of agricultural biotechnology were directly funded by the DTI as opposed to the Research Councils, in the past 10 years.

A project under the LINK scheme ran between 1999 and 2004 on “Phytoremediation: an integrated approach to the decontamination of polluted soils”. The grant awarded by the Department was £133,000.

In 2004 the DTI moved support for research projects into the Technology Programme. Since its commencement in 2004 the Programme has offered support for one project in this area, “Contained Agronomy for the Production of Plant Based Pharmaceuticals”. The grant awarded by the Department was £394,000 for a three-year project that started in 2005.

Departmental Reorganisation

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the total costs associated with the division of (a) staff, (b) office space, (c) office equipment and (d) furnishings are expected to be as a consequence of the division of the Department for Education and Skills. [148227]

Mr. Denham: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Departments: Ex-servicemen

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make a statement on the role of his Department in providing training for end-of-service military personnel. [148201]

Mr. Lammy: Each year some 18,000 people will leave the armed forces to work in UK civilian companies.

This Department's Skills strategy particularly aims to improve level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSEs at A*-C) and literacy, language and numeracy skills for all adults. DIUS is working to increase the number of adults succeeding in national qualifications, while reducing barriers to learning.

DIUS works closely with the armed forces on its further education strategy (and also the army basic skills programme). The armed forces provide opportunities for training for all, no matter what was achieved in school or college. The literacy and numeracy standards of all recruits are assessed and those identified with poor skills for life are then given systematic support, so that before they start their vocational training, the minimum standard that all are operating at, is entry level 3 in numeracy and literacy. That support is contextualised, making learning applicable to the workplace, with the target that all have gained at least level 1 qualifications in literacy and numeracy (equivalent to GCSE level at D-G) within four years of joining, with opportunities to then gain vocational qualifications at level 2.

The armed forces train their personnel, with support from DIUS, so that they have transferable skills and nationally recognised vocational qualifications, to enable them to take up a civilian career when they leave service. The armed forces is one of the largest deliverers of apprenticeships in the country, in the past year some 5,500 apprenticeships, nearly 2,500 advanced apprenticeships and over 7,500 stand-alone NVQ or other level 2 qualifications were completed by armed forces personnel. In addition, assistance with resettlement is provided, to ensure personnel are fully prepared for civilian life.

Departments: Manpower

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many employees there are in his Department, broken down by pay grade. [147877]

Mr. Denham: The Department has a total of 1,854 staff. Prior to the recent machinery of government changes, these staff were employed by different Government Departments, which had their own pay grades below the senior civil service. The following breakdown therefore indicates roughly equivalent grades:

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Departments: Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many special advisers are employed by his Department. [147879]

Mr. Denham: At this time none, but consideration is being given to the employment of up to two advisers.

Departments: Prisons

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make a statement on the role of his Department in the prison sector. [148199]

Mr. Lammy: Employment is known to be a key factor in helping to reduce re-offending. The principal role for my Department is to provide an effective learning and skills service for prisoners, as well as those serving sentences in the community, to improve their skills and employability, and increase their motivation to turn away from crime to become more productive members of society. We will do this by delivering the programme of reform set out in 'Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment: Next Steps' (December 2006).

Seizing new, global opportunities requires a world-class skills base, not only through the expansion of high-end graduate skills but also by raising the skills of the wider adult workforce, including those currently unskilled. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will lead the work to ensure that the nation has the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global economy, and that includes developing the skills of those in the prison sector, including the workforce.

Departments: Property

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which properties his Department occupies. [147878]

Mr. Denham: The Department, including Executive agencies and trading funds, but not including non-departmental public bodies, occupies the following buildings:

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Departments: Public Transport

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what incentives he has considered to encourage staff in his Department to use public transport. [148802]

Mr. Lammy: The main incentive the Department offers are interest-free loans for season tickets for travel to work. Use of public transport is encouraged by departmental policies including limited car parking, free cycle parking with showers available for staff to use before starting work, flexible working, using public transport during the course of travel and making use of travel websites and information services, such as Transport Direct. Staff are also informed about local transport initiatives and promotions. Where the location or nature of the work makes public transport use impractical for staff, car sharing and the use of low emission vehicles is encouraged.

English Language: Education

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made in developing guidance for providers of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) on the financial evidence that will need to be provided by learners to get fee remission for ESOL courses. [148581]

Mr. Lammy: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding guidance for 2007-08 outlines the position on ESOL funding and details the categories of learners who are entitled to fee remission. This is available on the LSC website at:

In addition, the LSC has recently published guidance on use of the additional £4.6 million in 2007-08 to the Learner Support Hardship Fund which will support vulnerable learners, including spouses and low-paid workers who may need support to pay their ESOL fees. This is available at:

Higher Education

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the procedure is for granting university status; and how many applications have been approved in the last 12 months. [149281]

Bill Rammell: Institutions must apply to the Privy Council in order to be granted a university title. The Privy Council will then seek advice from the Department who will consider whether an institution meets its criteria for university title; consulting the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and the Higher Education Funding Council for England as necessary. The Department's criteria for university title are that an institution must:

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In the last 12 months, the Privy Council has approved three applications for university title: Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, St. Martin's College and York St. John University College.

Literacy: Prisoners

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of prisoners were recorded as illiterate over the last 10 years. [148113]

Mr. Lammy: The numbers and proportion of prisoners whose reading was assessed at reception as being below Level 1, which could be used as a proxy for functionally illiteracy, is recorded as follows:

Prisoners whose reading was assessed as below level 1:
Number Proportion (%)



















The information is taken from the ‘Prison Statistics for England and Wales’, an annual publication produced by the Home Office until 2003.

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