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Mr. Simon: Table 1 shows the percentage of LSC-funded apprenticeship starts in England in 2005/06 to 2007/08 at each type of provider. It is not possible to specify exactly the number of apprenticeships with a private provider. Numbers in many categories are too small to provide regional level analysis.
|Table 1: Percentage of apprenticeship starts in an academic year by provider type, 2005/06 to 2007/08|
| indicates a figure of 0 per cent. when rounded.|
1. Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 0.1 per cent.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what support is available for apprentices whose employer terminates their contract before they have completed their apprenticeship. 
Mr. Simon: I am pleased apprenticeship completion rates are improving. In 2007/08 we saw 64 per cent. of apprentices successfully completing their apprenticeship up from 37 per cent. in 2004/05, and since 1997 we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 65,000 to a record 225,000 apprenticeship starts in 2007/08.
We have established a matching service to help those apprentices in the construction sector at risk of redundancy to find alternative employment and to complete their apprenticeship. We are currently working with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to explore how this approach
might be extended to other sectors. More generally, providers and the LSC have procedures to advise and relocate apprentices in cases where providers or employers fail, to help ensure that they are able to continue in work and complete their apprenticeship. Where alternative work is not available local advice agencies working with training providers and colleges will help find other training opportunities. Such arrangements are being used, for example, to help former Woolworth apprentices complete their apprenticeship framework and find alternative employment or training.
The £140 million package announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in January for an additional 35,000 apprenticeship places will help fund new provision in both the public and private sectors, and will extend the opportunities available to people facing redundancy. This package will further boost the number of people starting an apprenticeship.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people started apprenticeships in the construction industry in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Simon [holding answer 2 March 2009]: Table 1 following shows the number of apprenticeship starts in construction in 2007/08. There were 21,000 apprenticeship starts in construction frameworks in 2007/08, up from 15,200 in 2003/04, a 38 per cent. increase.
|Table 1: Apprenticeship starts in construction, 2007/08|
|Sector framework||Number of starts|
1. Volumes are rounded to the nearest 100, and may not add up to the total.
2. Frameworks included in construction are:
WBL ILR 2007/08
The Government are committed to rebuilding apprenticeships. Since 1997 we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 65,000 to a record 225,000 apprenticeship starts in 2007/08. Completion rates are also at a record high with 64 per cent. successfully completing an apprenticeship up from 37 per cent. in 2004/05.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many public consultations his Department has conducted in the last 12 months; how long each consultation was open for; how many responses were received in each case; and what the cost of conducting each consultation was. 
Mr. Simon: In 2008 the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills conducted 13 consultations. On average each consultation was open for 12.5 weeks with an average of 583 responses received per consultation. The costs of conducting each consultation vary depending on the consultation route taken. It is not possible to provide the cost of conducting each one as this would incur disproportionate public expense.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans has he to make additional funding available to further education colleges and universities for the re-skilling of individuals who hold a level three or level four qualification. 
Mr. Simon [holding answer 9 March 2009]: Alongside existing programmes and training provision, we have announced new measures to provide employment-focused training for people facing or at risk of redundancy, as well as those who have been out of work for a longer period of time. This includes: a package of £158 million to support 40,000 new employment-focussed training places for those at risk of redundancy; £83 million to support 75,000 extra further education places for the long-term unemployed; and £140 million to support 35,000 additional apprenticeship places. The amount of funding that will be available to further education colleges for this training will depend on demand and skills needs of individuals rather than being linked to prior attainment.
Within our existing entitlements, learners who already have a qualification at level 3 or level 4 may be able to access repeat qualifications, however the learner or their employer may be asked to make a contribution towards the cost of the course. Funding for repeat qualifications may be available through the Adult Learner Responsive or Employer Responsive route. In particular, Sector Compacts enable more flexible use of Train to Gain funding for retraining in subjects deemed a priority for a specific sectors.
In late January 2009, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced their Economic Challenge Investment Fund, a £50 million fund (£25 million from HEFCE matched with £25 million from individual higher education institutions) to provide help for individuals and businesses during these difficult times. This will help universities and colleges to provide tailored training, development and professional support to vulnerable groups, including those who want to re-skill in strategically important and vulnerable subjects.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the estimated cost in empty property business rates for the vacant properties recorded on the e-PIMS database owned by his Department is in 2008-09. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills with reference to the Pre-Budget Report 2008, whether the extension of the Train to Gain scheme will be funded from an existing spending programme. 
Mr. Simon: The 2009-10 grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) sets out the budget for Train to Gain. Train to Gain is a growing programme. This will result in a planned budget increase for Train to Gain programme from £657 million in 2008-09 to £925 million in 2009-10, which will support around 949,000 learners. The Government Investment Strategy 2009-10, published last November, set out the planned aggregate growth in the LSC's budget and also the priorities set within that.
Train to Gain is the key service for supporting employers to invest in the future productivity and profitability of their businesses by investing in the skills of their employees. Train to Gain offers quality-assured, impartial advice from skills brokers, to help identify the business's skills needs at all levels and make the right, informed choices.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of young people in each (a) town, (b) ward and (c) lower layer super output area of the principal seaside towns in England are not in education, employment or training. 
Mr. Simon [holding answer 23 February 2009]: Details of young people not in employment, education or training are not available for small geographical regions such as principal seaside towns, wards and lower layer super output areas. The smallest geographical area for which these numbers are available is by local education authority.
Tables 1 and 2 show estimates of the numbers and percentages of people aged(1) 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) for local education authorities (LEAs) in England. These are the most recent estimates are from the Annual Population Survey (APS); data for 2008 are not yet available. The tables have been placed in the House Libraries.
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest thousand as sample sizes for each local education authority are small and will be affected by sampling variability. This will also affect the comparability of data for each year, as most of the differences in figures for different years are statistically insignificant.
(1) Age used is the respondent's academic age, which is defined as their age at the preceding 31 August.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many learner places funded by the Learning and Skills Council there were in each (a) local authority area and (b) subject area in each year since 2003-04. 
Mr. Simon [holding answer 4 March 2009]: For the number of learner places funded by the Learning and Skills Council in each subject area, I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 464W.
Tables 1-4 show the number of learner enrolments/starts by local authority which were funded by the Learning and Skills Council, from 2004/05 to 2007/08 academic year. Data cannot be provided on a comparable basis for 2003/04.
Between 2004/05 and 2007/08, there was a significant shift in the types of further education courses that attracted public funding. Realignment of funding towards longer courses offering adults the greatest opportunity to gain the skills to enter and progress in sustained employment has necessarily led to a decrease in the overall number of LSC funded learners over this period.
However, it cannot be assumed that these courses and learners no longer existwhere a course no longer attracts public funding, we expect colleges and providers to continue to offer those courses, at full cost, in response to demand.
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