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Beverley Hughes: We estimate that 206,000 young people of academic age 16 to 18(1) in England were not in education, employment or training (NEET) at the end of 2006. This represents 10.3 per cent. of all 16 to 18-year-olds.
(1) Academic age is defined as age at the start of the academic year, 31 August.
11. Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much research council spending has been allocated to cross-disciplinary research over the next comprehensive spending review period; and if he will make a statement. 
The science budget allocations which I announced on 11 December, set out funding for four major cross-council interdisciplinary programmes. These four programmes are "Living with Environmental Change",
"Ageing", "Global Threats to Security" and "Energy" and will allocate a total of £1.3 billion to research in these areas. In addition, research councils fund cross disciplinary research in a wide variety of other areas.
Our overall expenditure on physics research, postgraduate training and facilities through the research councils will exceed £500 million per year in 2010-11. This includes investments from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Mr. David Lammy: The Government are committed to achieving the ambition articulated by Lord Leitch. We set out in world class skills how we would work with our partners, employers, unions, and individuals to affect a skills revolution in this country.
In November, DWP and DIUS set out in Opportunity, Employment and Progression: making skills work', how we will work together so that people can gain the training and support they need to enter and progress in work.
Bill Rammell: This Government remain fully committed to widening access to higher education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. I have had many discussions about this important matter with a range of people, including members of the Russell Group of universities.
15. Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to improve the advice available to young people on apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. David Lammy: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, published a range of measures to improve information, advice and guidance to young people in his Children's Plan. In addition, the Education and Skills Bill, currently before the House, will ensure that all young people receive good information about all routes post-16, including apprenticeships.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many apprenticeships were offered by (a) central Government, (b) local government and (c) other public bodies in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Lammy: There are over 200 different apprenticeship or advanced apprenticeship frameworks on offer to potential learners across more than 80 industry sectors. However, there exists no definitive classification of frameworks by sector of employer.
17. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to ensure that manufacturing businesses benefit from innovations developed in English universities. 
Bill Rammell: In July 2007 we established the Technology Strategy Board to provide innovation and technology support to business. The Technology Strategy Board is a key delivery partner in supporting collaboration between business and universities and also works closely with the Research Councils. In England, the Governments Higher Education Innovation Fund is another way in which we are helping universities increase their capacity for working with businesses.
18. Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Train to Gain provision in the west midlands; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: Train to Gain has been successful in the West Midlands with 8,334 employers working with the service to identify and meet their training needs. Since April 2006 42,000 employees have started a learning activity and 12,395 have gained a Level 2 qualification. We remain committed to the expansion of Train to Gain as the Governments premier skills service for employers and expect all regions including the West Midlands to step up their performance.
Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the availability of advanced apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. David Lammy: We have announced a major expansion of apprenticeships with Government funding rising to over £1 billion in 2010-11 to boost numbers, including advanced apprenticeships. The balance between advanced apprenticeships and Level 2 apprenticeships reflects employer need. However, the Government will expect to see a significant increase above the current 97,000 advanced apprenticeships in England as we move towards a national entitlement in 2013.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council provided to the Sustainability of Land Use and Transport in Outer Neighbourhoods project. 
Ian Pearson: The ,Sustainability of Land Use and Transport in Outer Neighbourhoods, (SOLUTIONS) project received funding of £1.75 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the period April 2004 to September 2008.
Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what percentage of 18 to 22-year-old people from the City of Sunderland were studying at university (a) in 1997 and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Bill Rammell: The main measure for tracking progress on increasing participation is currently the higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR). This is the sum of the HE initial participation rates for individual ages between 17 and 30 inclusive. It covers English-domiciled first time entrants to HE courses, which are expected to last for at least six months, at UK higher education institutions and English, Scottish and Welsh further education colleges, and who remain on their course for at least six months. The earliest figure is 39.3 per cent for 1999/2000 and the latest available figure is 42.8 per cent. for 2005/06.
HEFCE's Young participation in Higher Education publication includes the proportion of young people who enter higher education at age 18 or 19 by parliamentary constituency, although this only covers the years up to 2000. Participation rates based on this work are given
on the supporting POLAR website (www.hefca,ac.uk/polar). These indicate that, for the cohort reaching 18 in 1997, the proportion of young people from Sunderland who entered higher education at age 18 or 19 was 20 per cent.. For the cohort reaching 18 in 2000, the proportion of young people from Sunderland who entered higher education at age 18 or 19 was 19 per cent.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which 50 (a) universities and (b) further education colleges have the highest numbers of non-European Union students registered for courses; and how many such students each has registered. 
|50 higher education institutions in England with the highest number of non-EU enrolments( 1) , academic year 2005/06|
|Higher Education Institution||Non-EU enrolments|
|(1) Figures cover postgraduate and undergraduate students on full-time and part-time courses.|
Figures are calculated on a snapshot basis as at the 1 December and have been rounded to the nearest 5.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
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