Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Written Evidence

Memorandum 16

Letter from Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chairman, the Welsh Affairs Select Committee


  Thank you for your letter of 17 July to let me know that your Committee is to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Apprenticeships Bill, and inviting comments from the Welsh Affairs Committee.

  My Committee has considered the draft Bill, and I set out our observations below as a series of questions[25]:

  1.  Are the statistics cited in the foreword to the draft Bill England-only?

  2.  The draft Bill applies to England and Wales (Section 29 and para 6 of the Explanatory Note). However in his written statement accompanying the draft Bill, Secretary of State John Denham noted:

    This draft Bill sets out the legislative framework needed to underpin our strategy to increase the nunmber of apprenticeship places and strengthen apprenticeships in England.

  Ought there to be greater clarity on the draft Bill's territorial extent?

  3.  Why is there no reference in the draft Bill to the Welsh Assembly Government's Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Welsh Assembly Government?

  4.  Why is there no reference to the Welsh Assembly Government's Skills that work for Wales Action Plan? (Nor is there a reference to the draft Bill in Skills that work for Wales.)

  5.  Although there are references to the Leitch Report on Skills, why does the draft not refer to the subsequent UK Commission for Employment and Skills?

  6.  How will the content of the Bill be implemented in Wales, and by whom?

  7.  How would the Bill's provisions be financed in Wales?

  8.  How have the DIUSS and the Department for Children, Schools and Families consulted (or how will they consult) with the Welsh Assembly Government on the provisions of the draft Bill?

  9.  Will there be any overlap in devolved and non-devolved education policy?

  10.  Does the draft Bill raise any cross-border issues? My own Committee's inquiry into cross-border issues has touched on a number of issues which may be relevant, for example:

    labour markets which cross borders;

    employers which recruit from both sides of the border;

    ensuring that people get accurate information as to what is available; and

    ensuring that colleges on both sides of the border have clear roles in the training aspects of apprenticeships (Section 16.2 makes it clear that it applies to employers "in England").

  11.  There are references in the draft Bill to "functional skills in English" (3J 5, 7—Apprenticeship scheme requirements: interpretation). Are there any specific Welsh language issues to be addressed?

October 2008

25   The Government produced answers to these questions which are printed in the Appendix to the Report [HC 1062-I], Q122-132. Back

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