Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10.14 am.

Election of Chairperson 

In the absence of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson, the Clerk asked members to nominate a temporary Chairperson.

Mr Fra McCann moved the motion, “That Mr Pat Ramsey do take the Chair of the Committee”.  Mr Sammy Douglas seconded the motion.

There were no other nominations.

Mr Pat Ramsey took the chair.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chair’s Business

  • The Chairperson reminded members that any interests should be declared as appropriate throughout the meeting.

10.17 am Mr Barry McElduff joined the meeting.

  • The Chairperson asked members how they wished to deal with any requests for information under Freedom of Information legislation, which were received during the recess period.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to delegate authority to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to submit views on the release or withholding of information in response to any contentious or non-routine Freedom of Information request, and that the Committee would be advised of any such requests, any views expressed and any responses issued at the first available meeting following the recess.

3. Minutes of the meetings held on 29 May 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the Committee for Employment and Learning meeting held on 29 May 2012 were agreed.

Agreed: The minutes of the Joint meeting with the Committee for Education held on 29 May 2012 were agreed.

4. Matters arising

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee considered a draft joint response on the Review of Teacher Education.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the response should be issued to the Department for Employment and Learning.

  • The Committee noted a response to an Oral Assembly Question on the Dissolution of DEL.
  • The Committee considered research papers from Assembly Research (RaISe) and the Scottish Parliament (SPICe) on the tuition fee implications for students from Northern Ireland studying at Scottish universities.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for further information on the situation.

  • The Committee noted the receipt of responses to the joint DE/DEL consultation on the Review of Teacher Education.

5. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 8.

The Committee considered SR 2012 No.184, The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2012 No.184, The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012, and, subject to the ESR’s report, has no objection to the Rule.”

6. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 9.

The Committee considered SR 2012 No.000, The Labour Relations Agency Arbitration Scheme (Jurisdiction) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2012 No.000, The Labour Relations Agency Arbitration Scheme (Jurisdiction) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012, and recommends that it should be affirmed by the Assembly.”

7. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 10.

The Committee considered the SL1 proposal for The Further Education (Student Support) (Eligibility) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for the Department to make the Rule.

8. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 11.

The Committee considered the SL1 proposal for The Industrial Training Levy (Construction Industry) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for the Department to make the Rule. 

9. Correspondence

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 12.

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

9.01 Response from the Department providing further information on regional skills forecasts, and on leadership and management programmes

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.02 Response from the Department for Employment and Learning, and from the Department of Education, on funding for The Bytes Project

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Education asking to be kept updated on the funding decision by the Youth Council of Northern Ireland.

9.03 Final Evaluation report from the Department on the Learner Access and Engagement  Pilot (LAEP) programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing in September.

9.04  Update from the Department on Apprenticeships as at 1 June 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this update.

9.05 Response from the Department on how it intends to respond to the Eurocities Lifelong Learning Programme call for pilot projects on Sector Skills Alliances

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.06 Further information from the Department on the Condition Management programme

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.07 Departmental update on the Savings Delivery plan 2011-2015

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this update.

9.08  Response from the Minister on the Review of employment relations within the North West Regional College

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.09  Response from the Minister on the presentation of the NEETs strategy, Pathways to Success

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.10 Response from the Department on the percentage of students who take out a loan to cover tuition fee costs

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.11 Correspondence from the Minister on the change in support arrangements for Northern Ireland domiciled students who enter Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland in the academic year 2013/2014

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

9.12 Discussion paper from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on maximising the Assembly’s contribution to the Northern Ireland Budget process

Agreed: The Committee agreed a response to the questions posed within the paper.

9.13  Response from the University of Ulster to a Committee request for information on the gender split of students

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.14  Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on the Sustainable Energy Strategy Action Plan 2012 -2015

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to scrutinise this Action Plan on a bi-annual basis.

9.15 Nineteenth Report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this Report.

9.16 Correspondence from a member of the public, highlighting her son’s unsuccessful application to study medicine

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to Queen’s University for comment.

9.17 Response from Queen’s University to a Committee request for information on the gender split of students

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.18 Response from the Department to the Committee’s concerns regarding the late provision of briefing papers and information

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.  

9.19 Response from the Department of Justice to the consultation on the dissolution and transfer of functions of DEL

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

9.20 Correspondence from the Department regarding intake numbers for Initial Teacher Education courses

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Committee for Education for information.

The Committee also noted an invitation received.

10.  Departmental briefing on the processes and allocation of European Social Funding

The Committee agreed to combine the briefings at agenda items 5 and 6.

Officials joined the meeting at 10.32 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colin Jack, Director of Strategy, European and Employment Relations Division, Mr Brian Smart, Head of the European Unit, and Mr Owen Gillespie, European Unit, on the processes involved in European Social Funding, and on the allocation of this Funding in Northern Ireland.

10.38 am Mr David McIlveen joined the meeting.

10.41 am Mr Chris Lyttle joined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session when official agreed to provide the Committee with further details on the impact of currency fluctuations on European funding.

Officials left the meeting at 11.33 am. 

11.  Briefing from the Training for Women Network on the impact of its work

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.34 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Mary Hogg, Chairperson, Ms Alison Blayney, Vice-Chairperson, Ms Danielle Downey, Kilcooley Womens Education Group, and Ms Helena Jeffers, Cookstown and District Womens Group, on the impact of the work of the Training for Women Network.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister on a number of issues relating to the value of maintaining the work of community groups.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.55 am.

11.55 am Ms Michelle Gildernew left the meeting.

 

 

12.  Draft Forward Work Programme

     The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 24 October 2012.

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

Agreed: The Committee agreed to bring forward the meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 27 June 2012, to Tuesday, 26 June 2012.

13.  Any Other Business

11.58 am Ms Michelle Gildernew rejoined the meeting.

  • The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to request that he brings a redundancy issue at Lagan Holdings to a forthcoming North-South Ministerial Council meeting.

14.  Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 20 June 2012, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.01pm.

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
20 June 2012

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