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18 Dec 2008 : Column 1057W—continued

The Department records details of some of its expenditure on hospitality in the UK and overseas separately in its accounting systems. In other cases, expenditure on official hospitality is aggregated with costs for events such as conferences and meetings or with general entertainment expenses, as well as being
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included in individual subsistence claims. Copies of invoices relating to all expenditure are retained by the responsible teams or, in the cases of science, research and innovation teams, in the former DTI central finance transaction processing unit.

Expenditure on alcohol for official hospitality is not recorded separately.

The basic rules governing entertainment are derived from Treasury authorities. There is a presumption that public money will not be used to purchase alcohol. However, exceptionally, if not providing alcohol to non-civil servants could lead to greater embarrassment for the Department, moderate amounts (in quantity and quality) may be purchased for formal evening gatherings such as meals or presentations. As with any expenditure on personal entertainment, the reasons should be both clearly defensible and well documented.

Departmental Pay

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make it his policy to ensure that those temporary and permanent employees at the same grade in his Department who are paid at an hourly rate are paid at the same rate. [244389]

Mr. Simon: In the Department, all permanent and temporary employees are salaried, and the same policies are applied on starting salary.

Foreign Students

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many Japanese students are studying in English universities. [245292]

Mr. Lammy: In the 2006-07 academic year there were 5,195 Japanese domiciled enrolments at English higher education institutions. This figure comes from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record and covers enrolments to all levels and modes of study. Comparable figures for the 2007-08 academic year will be available in late January 2009.

Further Education: Reorganisation

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what tasks he has asked each Government Office to undertake in relation to the proposed changes to the funding and management of further education colleges; and if he will make a statement. [244172]

Mr. Simon: The White Paper ‘Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver’, set out proposals to ensure that the needs of learners (young people and adults) and employers are met by a more responsive system. Responsibility for the planning, commissioning and funding for education and training for 16 to 19-year-olds will transfer to local authorities, supported by a new Young People's Learning Agency. For adults we propose to build on the demand led approach, including through the creation of a new Skills Funding Agency and strengthened advice and support services for adults and employers.

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Government offices will have no direct role in funding and management of FE colleges in the new system. They will contribute to discussion of regional priorities and support local authorities in undertaking their new responsibilities. They are, and will continue to be, a conduit for information to flow from sub-regional groupings (SRGs) to DCSF. During the transition to the new system Government offices are playing an important role in supporting local authorities and working with other regional bodies to prepare. In particular they have been supporting the development of SRGs in preparation for the transfer of 16-19 funding from the LSC to local authorities. DCSF will be allocating funding via Government offices to SRGs to help build their capacity through this process.

More detail on the pre-19 proposals can be accessed via this link:

More detail on the Skills Funding Agency can be found in the recently published ‘Adult Skills Reforms: An Update’, accessible via this link:

Further Education: Sight Impaired

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure adequate funding is available for further education training courses for those who are visually impaired; and if he will make a statement. [244204]

Mr. Simon: Learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD) are a priority for public funding. This was recently reaffirmed through the Government’s grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for 2009-10 (November, 2008). This sets out how the LSC will continue to develop the support and provision available to these learners, in line with the vision described in the Learning for Living and Work strategy that people with LDD have access to and experience of post-19 learning that is equal to that experienced by their peers without LDD.

Learning providers are required by the Disability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled learners do not experience barriers to learning. Such adjustments can be funded through the college or providers’ mainstream allocation for adults and/or young people, or through the Additional Learning Support Fund (ALS) which provides higher levels of support to meet specific needs. Visually impaired learners are frequently the beneficiaries of this fund.

Each region will have an LLDD strategy describing what the priorities are for the region in line with an analysis of need. The combination of better planning to meet local need and the funding secured through ALS budget are the main steps to ensure there is adequate funding to meet the needs of those with visual impairment.

Further Education: Vocational Training

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure continued national funding is available to further education colleges which provide vocational training opportunities nationally. [244203]

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Mr. Simon: As set out in the Government grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (18 November 2008), overall investment through the LSC for the education and training of young people and adults is planned to increase from £11.6 billion in 2008-09 to over £12.1 billion in 2009-10. This will be focused on boosting greater participation in education and training, so more young people and adults are best placed to get and keep secure careers; and empowering colleges to work more closely with businesses with urgent training needs.

We will continue to increase investment for vocational training including: £925 million in 2009-10 through the Train to Gain programme which we are committed to expanding and improving so that to respond flexibly to employer demand; and over £1 billion in 2009-10 for apprenticeships for young people and adults.

As set out in the LSC Grant Letter/Statement of Priorities, from 2009-10, the LSC will operate a principle of having only one relationship with each FE college/provider, moving towards a position where they have only one funding contract. This means that FE colleges/providers operating in different regions will no longer have to agree multiple funding contracts.

Higher Education: Business

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage the greater integration of higher education with business and industry. [245005]

Mr. Lammy: The Government encourage integration of higher education with business and industry in many ways, a number of which are as follows.

The High Level Skills Strategy sets out why and how the Government are encouraging higher education institutions (HEIs) to help meet the demands of business through knowledge exchange, as well as by supplying skilled graduates and post-graduates and by providing high level skills learning for those in the workforce. For example, the 2008 Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Grant letter allocated over £100 million of new resources over the spending review period to support new co-funded entrants, infrastructure development and wider employer engagement activity within HEIs.

The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) gives every English HEI funding to build its capacity to work with business. This fund will reach £150 million per annum by the end of the spending review period. There is a business support element of quality-related (QR) funding to HEIs, which in 2008-09 totals £61.7 million. Allocation is based on the amount of research income institutions receive from UK industry, commerce and public corporations.

During 2008-11 the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will co-ordinate a £1 billion programme in partnership with research councils and the regional development agencies (RDAs) with a key aim of helping businesses to access the research base. In addition to this, the TSB invests in business-university collaborations through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Research councils have a strong economic impact agenda and support activities which encourage working with business, including significant amounts of collaborative
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research. RDAs will provide Innovation Vouchers to at least 500 businesses as a means for smaller firms to collaborate with knowledge institutions to help those firms boost their innovation.

Together, these measures will help the HE sector work with Government, business and industry to ensure that the needs of a 21(st)-century knowledge economy are met, even in challenging times for the global economy.

Learning and Skills Council: Disabled

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Learning and Skills Council has taken to comply with the disability equality duty; and if he will make a statement. [243839]

Mr. Simon: The Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) Single Equality Scheme publication (April 2007) sets out how the LSC will fulfil its statutory duties to promote equality of opportunity and avoid discrimination. It also sets out specifically how it intends to meet and implement the requirements for a disability equality scheme.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on recognising employer-sponsor vendor qualifications, including IT vendor qualifications. [233992]

Mr. Simon: The Department is funding the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to run the Employer and Provider Recognition Programme, promoting the accreditation of high-quality training of employers in England. The Department is in regular discussion with the QCA about the programme and receive frequent reports on the progress of organisations towards gaining recognition as awarding organisations and accreditation of qualifications, including IT qualifications.

Railways: Engineers

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of skilled railway engineers. [245135]

Mr. Simon: The Government work through Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) to help promote skills to industry and support employers in closing skills shortages and gaps. GoSkills is the SSC with responsibility for rail engineering.

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In common with all SSCs, GoSkills has developed a sector skills agreement (SSA) which identifies the sector’s current and future skills needs. The SSA, which is UK wide, provides a clear platform for education and skills agencies and providers to work with the sector on helping meet those needs.

GoSkills have also produced their Sector Qualification Strategy which sets out the qualifications that the rail industry needs. Qualifications are regularly updated to ensure that they are fit for purpose and supporting the development of the skills the industry needs. The National Occupational Standards for Rail Engineering will be reviewed in 2009. This review will be driven by industry and will ensure that the industry-specific qualifications and all apprenticeship frameworks for rail engineering are refreshed and reflective of current best practice.

The partners in the rail industry have put in place a number of initiatives to increase the number of skilled staff in the industry.

Network Rail have established an award winning apprenticeship scheme using the industry standards. Metronet and Tubelines run major apprenticeship schemes. BIRSE engineering has launched a new apprenticeship scheme with West Anglia college.

There is an industry-sponsored Foundation Degree in Rail Engineering delivered by Sheffield Hallam university and the industry.

There are three centres of vocational excellence (CoVE). CoVEs demonstrate expertise in delivering specific types of vocational education and training. CoVEs often have college links and close business partnerships, and aim to produce specialists in a wide range of vocational areas to meet the needs of the marketplace. A celebration of the 10,000th NVQ achieved for all rail disciplines was held in the House of Commons dining room on 4 December for Four Counties Training CoVE and partners.

Student Numbers

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many full-time equivalent student places have been created in each year since 1992. [233991]

Mr. Lammy: Information is not available on the number of full-time equivalent student places that have been created in each year since 1992. However information is available on the increase in the number of students enrolled on courses at English higher education institutions and is shown in the following tables.

Figures are not available on a comparable basis prior to the 1994/95 academic year.

The latest period for which figures are available is the 2006/07 academic year; figures for the 2007/08 academic year will be available in late January 2009.

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Enrolments( 1) and increases to higher education courses by mode of study. English higher education institutions. 1994/95 to 1997/98 academic years
Year on year increase Year on year increase
Academic year Full-time enrolments Number Proportion (percentage) Part-time Enrolments Number Proportion percentage)

























(1 )Figures cover enrolments from all domiciles to undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
(2 )The large increase in part-time enrolments in the 1995/96 academic year is due to three factors—two institutions transferred from the FE sector to the HE sector, a number of nursing colleges merged with HEIs and several institutions recorded certain types of part-time study for the first time.
(3 )The decrease in part-time enrolments in the 1996/97 academic year is due to the Open University providing a split between part-time first year students and other year students for the first time. Students taking Open University credits were all returned as studying at undergraduate level, although some were studying postgraduate level courses. This has the effect of reducing part-time postgraduate numbers.
1. Figures are on a DIUS snapshot basis as at 1 December to maintain a consistent time series across all years and exclude students on writing up, sabbatical and dormant modes of study.
2. Numbers are rounded to the nearest five and proportions are rounded to one decimal place.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.

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