Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened in public session at 10.11 am.   

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

  • The Chairperson advised the Committee of the visit to Dublin for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and Awards and meetings with the University College Dublin, Wayra and Eirgrid.
    Agreed:
    The Committee agreed to request a joint presentation from representatives of UCD, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster on current collaborative projects between the universities with European Funding and the possible areas for future cross-border collaborations between the universities.
    Agreed:
    The Committee agreed to write to the BT requesting information on the Schools from Northern Ireland that applied to the competition, the schools that attended the Exhibition and what BT is doing to encourage applications for schools from Northern Ireland.
    Agreed:
    The Committee agreed to provide Members with a list of the Exhibitors from Northern Ireland and information on the Wayra organisation.
  • The Chairperson informed the Committee of a meeting with representatives of Pertemps People Development Group Ltd on Tuesday 15 January 2013 regarding the proposed Steps 2 Success Programme.  
  • The Committee considered the proposed programme for its visit to Geneva to visit CERN on Monday 4 to Thursday 7 March 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to the proposed programme.

10.25 am Mr Robinson joined the meeting.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

4. Matters arising

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee considered a Departmental paper updating its financial position as of 3 January 2013.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the update.
  • The Committee considered correspondence on the recent redundancies at FG Wilson and discussed a response from the Department regarding the possibility of applying to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for assistance for FG Wilson workers.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department providing it with the research papers and requesting an update on its consideration of the use of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for FG Wilsons and its discussions with the Department of Work and Pensions.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister requesting that he make a statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly on the use of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for FG Wilsons.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider a draft motion on the matter for a debate in Plenary.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to request information on whether it can ask a question in Plenary.

Departmental Briefing on the Employer Skills Survey 2011

The official joined the meeting at 10.25 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Dave Rodgers, Co-Head of Analytical Services on the Employer Skills Survey 2011.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The official agreed to provide further information on a range of issues considered by the Committee.

The official left the meeting at 11.14 am.

6. Departmental briefing on the New Employment Programme

The officials joined the meeting at 11.15 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colum Boyle, Director of Employment Services, and Mr Brendan McCann, Head of the New Employment Team and Mr Tony Montgomery, Programme Management & Development Branch on the new Steps 2 Success Employment Programme.

11.18 am Mr Hilditch left the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The officials agreed to provide further information on a range of issues considered by the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a further informal meeting with Departmental officials on the Steps 2 Success programme into the forward work programme to consider the issues in more detail.

The officials agreed to provide further information regarding the Employment Survey and the advice given to agency workers employed by FG Wilson.

11.59 am Mr Hilditch re-joined the meeting.

The officials left the meeting at 12.09 pm.

12.09 pm Mr Robinson left the meeting.

7. Briefing from Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service on Financial Forecasting

The Assembly Researcher joined the meeting at 12.09 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colin Pidgeon of Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service on financial forecasting performance data for the Department for Employment and Learning

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department, providing it with a copy of the research paper and seeking information on the issues raised in the research paper regarding the Total Forecast Outturn and the differences in accuracy for forecasting Capital and Resource spend.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule regular briefing by the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service on financial forecasting into the forward work programme to coincide with the Departmental Monitoring Rounds.

The Assembly Researcher left the meeting at 12.23 pm.

8. Consideration of clauses in the Education Bill relevant to the Committee for Employment and Learning

The Committee considered clauses in the Education Bill relevant to the Committee for Employment and Learning.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Education advising that it has no issues to raise regarding the clauses in the Education Bill relevant to the Department of Employment and Learning as the Department of Employment and Learning has retained oversight of aspects of the Bill which fall under its remit but that it wishes the Committee for Education to be mindful of the consultation response from St Mary’s College.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Research proposal from Stranmillis University College on a pilot study to evaluate whether HTML computer science programming resources for Key Stage 2 & 3 are at an appropriate level.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing on the proposal into the Forward Work Programme and to forward to the Department for comment.
  • Europa Press Release on Commission proposed package of measures to deal with youth employment.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the press release to the Department for comment.
  • Ministerial response to the Public Accounts Committee Memorandum of Reply regarding improving adult literacy and numeracy.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Public Accounts Committee for information.
  • Ministerial response to the Committee request for additional information on the reclassification of colleges as Non-Departmental Government Bodies (NDPBs).
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Further Education Colleges, Stranmillis University College and St Mary’s University College requesting that they explain their experience to date that the reclassification is having and their opinions on how the Department should proceed on the matter.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister informing him of its consultation with the Colleges and that it will respond to him when the responses have been considered.
  • Correspondence from the Northern Ireland Assembly European Project Manager regarding the Committee of the Regions European Conference from 28 February to 1 March 2013.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note that the questionnaire has been forwarded to the Department for completion.
  • Further Education Statistical Bulletins on Professional and Technical Enrolments and Professional and Technical Retention and Achievement Data in the Northern Ireland Further Education Sector for 2011 - 2012.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding the Bulletin on Professional and Technical Retention and Achievement Data asking if there has been any analysis of why students drop out and why they do not achieve.
  • Departmental correspondence regarding Ministerial approval of the new employment strand for long-term unemployed older people within the Steps to Work Programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Ministerial response to Petula Vient’s correspondence regarding loan repayments for students from Northern Ireland.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Departmental correspondence regarding the development of the new European Social Fund Programme 2012 -2020.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed consider the issue at next week’s meeting.
  • Departmental correspondence providing additional information from the Competitiveness and Employment Desk Officer in Brussels following the briefing on 14 November 2012.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the University and College Union regarding the Further Education Sector Pay Claim for 2012 - 2013.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Europa Press Release on the official launch of the EU Skills Panorama website.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department for comment.
  • Response from John Ringland to Committee correspondence regarding his complaint against Lisburn Technical College.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Public Accounts Committee.
  • Response from Queen’s University Belfast to the Committee invitation to send a representative on the study visit to Geneva.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Labour Relations Agency independent evaluation of the Collective Conciliation Services.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister on the European Commission Work Programme pilot project.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that a response would be drafted for its consideration.
  • Departmental correspondence regarding the consultation documents on the proposed changes to the TUPE Regulations.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Education regarding the Entitlement Framework/Area Planning.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and forward to Southern Regional College for information.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Education regarding the Post 19 SEN Provision and 14-19 Education Strategy.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note that the correspondence has been forwarded to the Department for comment.
  • Departmental response to Committee correspondence requesting a date for the publication of the report on admissions criteria used by the Republic Of Ireland’s Central Admissions Office into A’ Level equivalences.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Departmental response to Committee request for additional information regarding the Learner Access Engagement (LAE) programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Rural Community Network for information.
  • Departmental response to Committee request for additional information regarding the publication of the statistical bulletin - Essential Skills Enrolments and Outcomes 2011 - 2012.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Departmental response to Committee request as to why St. Mary’s University College has not been re-classified as a Non-Departmental Government Body.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Departmental notification of the publication of the latest Essential Skills enrolments factsheet.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Report from the Strategic Investment Board on the Investment Activity for the Department for Employment and Learning for December 2012.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Departmental regular update on apprenticeships - position at 3 January 2013.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from SERCO requesting to meet with the Committee to discuss its work and its bid to deliver the Steps 2 Success Programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule an informal meeting.
  • Northern Ireland Assembly Legislative Strengthening Trust notification of the Northern Ireland Assembly Effective Questioning and Scrutiny workshop for Committees.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider the dates of the workshops at its next meeting.
  • Departmental correspondence regarding the potential linkages for Northern Ireland football academies.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Belfast Metropolitan College and Northern Regional College for information.
  • Departmental response regarding the European Commission’s Rethinking Education Strategy.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Ministerial response to Committee correspondence regarding the re-classification for the Further Education College’s to Non-Departmental Public Bodies.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from William Ashe highlighting concerns regarding apprenticeships within the building industry.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.
  • Invitation from Advice NI to the official project launch of ‘Debt Action NI’ on 17 January 2013 in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.
  • Invitation to the Business in the Community's Regional Impact Awards on 24 January 2013 in Lisburn, 1 February in Ballymena and on 5 February in Belfast.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.
  • Invitation from Momentum for the launch of its vision for the shared future of the digital industries in Northern Ireland on 28 January 2013, Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.
  • Invitation from the Open University Careers Information Event on 28 February 2013 at its Belfast Office, Great Victoria Street, Belfast.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

10. Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 13 March 2013.

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

12.48 pm Mr Lyttle left the meeting.

11. Any Other Business

The Chairperson advised Members that the Chair’s Liaison Group had considered a number of European Social Fund Stakeholder Groups and that Members may wish to consider whether they wish to act as a Rapporteur on behalf of the Committee at these events.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday 23 January 2013 in the Great Hall, South West College, Enniskillen Campus at 10:00 am.

The Chairperson advised Members that prior to the Committee meeting there will be a breakfast briefing with local business representatives in the South West College at 8.30 am.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.50 pm.

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning

23 January 2013

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