Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 14 December 2011

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened in public session at 10.36 am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chair’s Business

There was no Chair’s Business.

3.  Minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2011

Agreed: The minutes were agreed.

4. Matters arising

The Committee considered a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to the Minister’s offer to provide a briefing on teacher training issues on 5 January 2012.

5. Correspondence

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 9.

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Update from the Department on the situation with Apprenticeships to 1 December 2011.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s request for a briefing on the re-contracting of Training for Success and Apprenticeships NI.

      Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing on the re-contacting process.

  • Correspondence from Craigavon Industrial Development Organisation inviting the Committee to visit its conference centre in Portadown.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a visit.

  • Letter and making Connections through Play briefing paper from PlayBoard NI.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

10.41 am Mr Chris Lyttle joined the meeting.

  • A response from the North West Regional College to the Committee’s request for sight of its Curriculum Audit.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek legal advice on the position.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on the Reservoirs Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Gerry Rogan Initiative Trust requesting an opportunity to brief the Committee on its Experience programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Social Development on The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Experience) Regulations.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for further information.

  • Response from Queen’s University Belfast to the Committee’s request for further information on partnership agreements with universities throughout the world.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Response from the University of Ulster to the Minister’s announcement of additional places for Higher Education.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Copy of correspondence from the University and Colleges Union to the Minister, requesting information on the proposed Queen’s University and Stranmillis College merger under Freedom of Information legislation.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Education on the working relationship between DEL and DE.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on the Economic Strategy Action Plan.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister on the Programme for Government and Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Response from the Department to a Committee request for funding details on a NEETS research project.

      Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Update from the Department on the establishment of a tracking system for NEETs.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Response from the Department to a Committee query on the number of PhD students.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister enclosing a letter for the Minister for Employment and Learning on the reform of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Minister.

  • Correspondence from FALNI enclosing information discussed at the recent meeting at First Steps Womens Centre in Dungannon.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this information.

  • Response from the Department to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s inquiry into the issue of promoting research and development in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response and to forward it to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

  • Correspondence from the North Belfast Employment Centre regarding DEL-related ESF funding.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence and to copy it to the Department for comment.

6. Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 10.

The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to the beginning of February 2012.

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

7. Any Other Business

There were no other items of business.

8. Departmental briefing on the responses to its consultation on the draft NEETs strategy, Pathways to Success.

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 10.46 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms June Ingram, Director of Strategy, Employment Relations and European Division, Mr Jim Walker, Head of Migrant Workers Branch, and Mr Pascal McCulla, Migrant Workers Branch, on the responses received to the public consultation on the Pathways to Success strategy.

The meeting was suspended to resolve a broadcasting problem at 10.52 am.

The meeting resumed at 10.55 am.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

11.31 am Mr Pat Ramsey left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for further information.

Officials left the meeting at 11.38 am.

9. Briefing from Ofqual on its role in Northern Ireland.

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 7.

Representatives of Ofqual joined the meeting at 11.40 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Amanda Spielman, Chairperson, Mr Ray Coughlin, Board member for Northern Ireland, and Ms Joan Gormley, Head of Operations for Northern Ireland, on the role of Ofqual in Northern Ireland and on its first Annual Report.

11.44 am Ms Michelle Gildernew left the meeting.

11.44 am Mr Sammy Douglas joined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives left the meeting at 12.11 am.

10. Departmental briefing on the January Monitoring Round. 

A Departmental official joined the meeting at 12.12 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mr John Smith, Director of Finance, on the January Monitoring Round.

12.15 pm Mr Chris Lyttle left the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The official left the meeting at 12.26 pm        

12.26 pm Mr Chris Lyttle rejoined the meeting.

12.26 pm Mr Jim Allister left the meeting.

11.  Briefing from the Open University on its role.

Representatives of the Open University joined the meeting at 12.27 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mr John D’Arcy, Director, Ms Heather Laird, Deputy Director, Ms Donna Gallagher, Staff Tutor, and Ms Orla Matthews, student, on the role of the Open University.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives left the meeting at 1.02 pm.

12.  Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Thursday, 5 January 2012, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.03 pm

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
11 January 2011

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