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Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an action programme for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through cooperation with third countries (Erasmus Mundus) (2009-14). A General Approach is expected to be agreed at Education Council on 15-16 November 2007.
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and Council establishing the European Institute of Technology. A General Approach was agreed by Competitiveness Council on 25 June 2007.
Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Proposal for a Council Regulation setting up the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking. An exchange of views is expected at the September Competitiveness Council.
Proposal for a Council Regulation setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking. An exchange of views is expected at the September Competitiveness Council.
Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking to implement a Joint Technology Initiative in Embedded Computing Systems. An exchange of views is expected at the September Competitiveness Council.
Proposal for a Council Regulation setting up the ENIAC Joint Undertaking. An exchange of views is expected at the September Competitiveness Council.
Proposal (on the basis of Article 169 of the EC Treaty) for a decision of the European Parliament and Council on the participation by the Community in a research and development programme aimed at enhancing the quality of life of older people through the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), undertaken by several member states (Ambient Assisted Living). An exchange of views is expected at the September Competitiveness Council.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will assess the merits of giving prisoners access to virtual classroom technology; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment: Next Steps, published jointly by the former Department for Education and Skills, the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions in December 2006 gave a clear commitment to improve the use of technology in delivering teaching and learning to offenders in custody, as well as offering more widespread access to ICT qualifications.
Two test bed regionsthe West Midlands and the East of Englandwill take forward implementation of the programme of action set out in the Next Steps document from this summer, supported by £500,000 of development funding I am making available.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when the rules relating to capital funding announced in the Learning and Skills Council news release issue 411 came into force. 
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what criteria have to be fulfilled by a further education college applying to receive the additional 5 per cent. of building costs for sustainable development announced in Learning and Skills Council news release 411; and whether this funding is in addition to the cost allowance of up to 10 per cent. available for addressing sustainability issues as detailed in paragraph 6.3 of the Learning and Skills capital handbook. 
Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has advised that the total allowance available to further education colleges for addressing sustainability issues is 10 per cent. of net building cost, as detailed in paragraph 6.3 of the LSCs capital handbook. To qualify for LSC capital funds, all proposals are required to address sustainable development by meeting a number of criteria:
Meeting, and preferably exceeding, the requirements of part L of the Building Regulations.
Ensuring that completed development meets the criteria to achieve at least very good Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) ratings. From September this year a rating of excellent will be mandatory.
Maximising the use of natural lighting, ventilation and rainwater.
Embedding the principles of sustainability in the design of buildings and building systems.
The criteria that further education colleges have to fulfil in order to receive the additional 10 per cent. cost allowance are not formally specified. Colleges are instead asked to provide a sustainability statement listing the elements of the proposed project which address the sustainability agenda. The statement should include how the proposed design addresses sustainability issues outside the remit of current building regulations. The college should also identify the specific costs of those elements of the building.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans he has, following the restructuring of the Learning and Skills Council, to ensure there is sufficient Government expenditure on post-16 year old skills training within the Leeds West constituency; and if he will make a statement. 
As set out in Machinery of Government: Departmental Organisation, to provide strong strategic leadership for the 14-19 phase overall
planning responsibilities for that phase will transfer to the Department for Children, Schools and Families as will all funding for 14-19 learners with the exception of that for apprenticeships. Subject to consultation on the details and timing, to ensure there is no disruption to schools, colleges and training providers and the introduction of new diplomas, and the need to pass the necessary legislation, funding for school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and the contribution of FE colleges to the 14-19 phase will transfer from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to local authorities' ring-fenced education budgets.
In relation to post-19 education and training, we will consider, and consult on, the best way of delivering all of those functions and services that are necessary to support the FE sector and to achieve our skills ambitions. That will build on and sustain the progress made with the LSC over recent years in developing a demand-led approach that meets the needs of employers and learners, particularly through the successful Train to Gain programme.
Bill Rammell: I am aware of two English universities with campuses in China. There are none in India since foreign providers are not currently permitted to set up there. There are of course many institutions with partnership arrangements with their counterparts in both China and India. DIUS is working with the devolved administrations to conduct a survey of UK higher education institutions that will show the scale and pattern of overseas provision by domestic institutions including which institutions have campuses in other countries. The survey is currently in the field and first results are expected to be available in September 2007.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much Learning and Skills Council funding there was for non-prescribed higher education courses in each of the last 10 years. 
Bill Rammell: Over the last 10 years, we have increased total funding for higher education by over 20 per cent. in real terms and now spend £10 billion a year, although the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England are responsible for the distribution of funding to support different courses. Both organisations have made important contributions to developing effective progression pathways for people looking to continue learning beyond level 3 either through further or higher education and are working together to assess the issues relating to the current funding of higher level skills provision.
Bill Rammell: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister informed the House on 28 June 2007, Official Report, column 36WS, the Government have no plans to change the current dual support arrangements for the public funding of research.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which 10 sectors of employment have the greatest acknowledged skills shortage; and what the manpower shortfall is in each case. 
Bill Rammell: The 2005 National Employer Skills Survey collected data from 74,500 employers in England about vacancies which were hard to fill because of a lack of suitably skilled applicants. This is felt to be the best measure of skill shortages. The data in the following table shows the Sector Skills Councils with the greatest numbers of skill shortages. To an extent, this merely reflects the size of the sectors so the second table shows the 10 sectors with the greatest numbers of skill shortages per 1,000 employees.
|10 sectors with the largest numbers of skill shortages|
|Sector skills council||Number of skill shortage vacancies|
|10 sectors with the most skill shortages per 1,000 employees|
|Sector skills council||Skill shortage vacancies per 1,000 employees||Numbers of skill shortage vacancies|
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which 10 sectors of employment have the greatest acknowledged skills excess; and if he will estimate the level of unemployment in each sector. 
Bill Rammell: We do not have information on skill surpluses by sector as such. However, comparing unemployment rate between sectors gives some indication of relative skill supply by sector. The following table shows estimates for 2006 of the unemployment rate and level by sector for each of the 23 sectors that can be identified using the Annual Population Survey sorted in descending order of unemployment rate.
|Unemployment by sector|
|Unemployment rate( 1 ) (percentage)||Number unemployed|
|(1 )Numerator for unemployment rate is number seeking and available for work whose last job was in the sector concerned. Denominator is numerator plus number employed in that sector.|
(2 )Includes Summit Skills (building services engineering).
Annual Population Survey, 2006
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