Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10.10 am.  

1.  Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on 6 February 2013

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 3.  

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

3. Briefing from the European Union High Level Group on Higher Education

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 5. 

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.12 am.

10.12 am Mr McCann joined the meeting.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Margie Waters, Deputy Head of the Higher Education Policy Unit - Modernisation of Higher Education and Mr Frank Petrikowski, Policy Office in Higher Education: Bologna Process; Quality of Teaching and Learning Unit on the European Union High Level Group on Higher Education.

10.19 am Mr Allister joined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives agreed to provide further information regarding issues raised during the briefing.

Agreed:    The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing with the European Union High Level Group on Higher Education on the results of its research due to be completed in 2014.

Representatives left the meeting at 10.51 am.

4. Chairperson’s Business

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 2.

  • The Chairperson advised Members of the Northern Ireland Business Trust meeting on Tuesday 12 February 2013.
  • The Committee considered the oral statement by the Minister of Employment and Learning on the proposed option for the future of the means-tested Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) Scheme made in the Assembly on Tuesday 12 February 2013.

10.53 am  Mr Lyttle joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister voicing its concern about the lack of engagement with the Committee on the results of the consultation on the EMA and requesting that he provide an oral briefing to the Committee on this issue and a range of other matters including the Action Plans for the North West Regional College.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department, requesting that a standing arrangement is established, whereby, when each consultation it carries out comes to an end, the Department provides the Committee with a summary of the responses and offers to come and brief the Committee on the results and the Departments proposed action.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing on the Review of the Department’s policy on Apprenticeships and Youth Training into the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a research paper on the Scottish Model for EMA and on the recent court case in England regarding individuals not wishing to take up places on employment schemes from the Assembly Research and Information Service.

5. Matters arising

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 4.

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee noted a motion of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel requesting clarification from the Department of Finance and Personnel on the financial impact to Northern Ireland of receiving funding from the EGF and its impact on the Block Grant and also whether agency workers are included in the numbers needed to be eligible for the Fund.

  • The Committee considered an invitation from SERCO to visit its operations in England in respect of the Steps 2 Success programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek further information from the Assembly Research and Information Service on SERCO and on other similar providers and to consider the matter further at a future meeting.

6. Briefing from Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 6.

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.20 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Richard Hanna, Interim Chief Executive, and Ms Ruth Kennedy, Business Manager, Education Strategy on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives agreed to provide further information regarding issues raised during the briefing and in particular to respond to issues in the National Association of Head Teachers submission to the Inquiry.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.52 am.

7. Briefing from the National Association of Head Teachers on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.52 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Clare Majury President NAHT (NI) and Principal Holywood Nursery School, Mr Aidan Dolan, Education Director NAHT (NI), Mr Dominic Clarke, Principal Sacred Heart College Omagh and Mr Liam McGuckin, Principal Cave Hill Primary School, on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

11.58 pm Mr Ross left the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives agreed to provide further information regarding issues raised during the briefing.

Representatives left the meeting at 12.38 pm.

12.38 pm Mr Ramsey left the meeting.

8. Briefing from Skills for Justice on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

Representatives joined the meeting at 12.38 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Judith Thompson, National Relationship Manager, Mr Nick Skeet, Employer Relationship Director, and Ms Colette Wymer, Partnership Development Officer, on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives agreed to provide further information regarding issues raised during the briefing.

Representatives left the meeting at 12.55 pm.

9. Correspondence

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 10.

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Correspondence from Tracey Brothers regarding the business meeting with the Committee on 23 January 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Departmental response regarding the Committee of the Regions ‘Assessment of the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs Flagship Initiative’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response.

  • Departmental response regarding the briefing on the New Employment Programme: Steps 2 Success.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting a description of all each Departmental programme and the funding available for youth employment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting information on why persistent poverty and disadvantage continues when there are so many Departmental programmes in operation to alleviate this issue.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting further information on the status and treatment of Agency Workers left redundant by FG Wilson and what assistance was offered to them.

  • Correspondence from Southern Regional College regarding the Department for Education response to the Entitlement Framework and Area Planning request.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and to forward it to the Committee for Education for comment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the University of Ulster requesting information on the closure of its Crèches. 

  • Departmental regular update on apprenticeships the position at 1 February 2013 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the update.

  • Correspondence from Queen’s University Belfast informing the Committee that the University will be unable to participate in the study visit to the CERN Institute, Geneva.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the University regarding the visit.

  • Assembly Research and Information Service paper detailing biographical details for Adrian Beecroft and Justice Nicholas Underhill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the research paper.

  • Correspondence from Educational Guidance Service for Adults (EGSA) regarding the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance and a request to informally meet the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule an informal meeting with EGSA into its Forward Work Programme. 

  • Correspondence from the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister on the draft copy of the Executive’s proposed ‘European Priorities 2013 -2014’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider this matter at its next meeting. 

  • Departmental response regarding the strategy for funding streams between schools and further education colleges. 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Invitation to the Launch of Queen's Institute for Global Food Security on 14 March 2013 in Riddell Hall, Queen’s University Belfast.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Invitation from Interserve Working Futures (IWF) to visit its operations in West Yorkshire Regarding the Steps 2 Success programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Invitation from Business in the Community to attend its ‘2013 Northern Ireland Impact Awards’ on 6 June 2013 in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Research and Information Service briefing paper on the Northern Ireland Executive Draft European priorities for 2013 - 2014

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider this matter at its next meeting.

  • Correspondence from INTO regarding the draft Education Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Committee for Education and the Department for information.

10.  Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 11.

The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 10 April 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content to schedule these briefings.

11.  Any Other Business

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 12.

None.

12.59 pm Mr Allister left the meeting.

12.  Briefing from the Northern Ireland Sector Skills Council Network on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 9.

Representatives joined the meeting at 12.59 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Siobhan Weir, Northern Ireland Manager, SkillsActive and Ms Shauna Dunlop, Partnerships Manager, Learning and Skills Improvement Service, on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives agreed to provide further information regarding issues raised during the briefing.

Representatives left the meeting at 1.16 pm.

13.  Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday 20 February 2013 at 10:00 am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.16 pm.

Mr Thomas Buchanan MLA
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
20 February 2013

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