Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 15 May 2013

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10.02 am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson's Business

• The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Department of Employment and Learning has taken over the funding responsibility for the Open University in Northern Ireland from the beginning of the next academic year, officially making it Northern Ireland's third University.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to issue a press release on the matter.

• The Chairperson advised Members that the Chairperson's Liaison Group has agreed procedures to streamline how Statutory Committees engage with other Departments.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the procedures.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 8 May 2013

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

4. Matters arising

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

• The Chairperson advised Members that the Committee planning day, agreed for 4 September 2013, has been arranged for Cookstown College on 4 September.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the arrangements for the planning day.

5. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

• The Committee considered correspondence on the European Employment Forum 2013 in Brussels on 12-13 November 2013 and noted that Belfast City Council is intending to have an exhibit at the event and that the Minister may be speaking at the event.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to attend the event.

• The Committee considered the report on the visit to the University of Ulster on 20 March 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the report and to include in the Inquiry Report into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland.

• The Committee considered the report on the visit to Geneva, Switzerland from 4-7 March 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the report.

• The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel to the Department for Employment and Learning regarding the Efficiency Delivery Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

• The Committee considered a response from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment regarding possibilities for tendering opportunities for Northern Ireland companies with CERN.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

• The Committee noted that the Steps 2 Success (NI): Response to Consultation Document had been provided for Members.

• The Committee noted that the North Eastern Education and Library Board Retention and Disposal of Records Schedule had been provided for Members.

• The Committee considered an invitation to the BEST Awards Final on 21 May 2013 in Armagh City Hotel.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

• The Committee considered an invitation from Ashton Community Trust the launch of Fab Lab Belfast / Nerve Centre on 22 May at Ashton Community Trust, Belfast.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

6. Forward Work Programme

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

7. Subordinate Legislation: SR 2013 -120 The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Agreed: That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2013 -120 The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013, and has no objection to the rule.

8. Departmental Briefing on the Disability and Employment Strategy

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 9.

The officials joined the meeting at 10.11 am.

10.12 am Mr Allister joined the meeting.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colum Boyle, Director of Employment Services and Mr Terry Parke, Head of Disability Employment Service on the Disability and Employment Strategy.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

10.25 am Mr Buchanan joined the meeting.

9. Departmental Briefing on Access to Work (with an emphasis on people with hearing loss)

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 10.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colum Boyle, Director of Employment Services and Mr Terry Parke, Head of Disability Employment Service on Access to Work (with an emphasis on people with hearing loss).

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The Department agreed to provide the Committee with further information on:

• The 90 people with a hearing disability who were retained in employment through Access to Work and how does this figure compare to the previous 3 years.

• Where the 90 people with a hearing disability are employed i.e. Public or Private Sector.

• How many businesses have been provided with specialist help and equipment in the last 3 years and how much funding has been provided to these businesses for specialist equipment such as the loop system?

• Does the Northern Ireland Civil Service and DEL have loop systems in place in their offices and, if so, in which buildings are they located?

Mr Colum Boyle left the meeting at 11.08 am.

10. Departmental Briefing on Post 19 SEN

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 8.

Officials joined the meeting at 11.08 am.

The Committee was briefed by Dr Mary McIvor, Director of Further Education, Mr Terry Parke, Head of Disability Employment Service and Ms Donna Crothers, Further Education Policy and Strategy Branch on Post 19 SEN.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The Departmental officials agreed to provide the Committee with information on the reasons for the decrease in the numbers of those in Higher Education with disabilities.

11.33 am Mr Ross left the meeting.

11.41 am Mr Lyttle joined the meeting.

The Departmental officials agreed to provide the Committee with further information on any projects and programmes operating in the Fermanagh area to support those with learning disabilities when the leave education.

The officials left the meeting at 11.47 am.

11.47 am Mr Buchanan left the meeting.

11. Briefing from the Post 19 Lobby Group

The representatives joined the meeting at 11.48 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mrs Julie Jamieson, Volunteer Post 19 Lobby Group, Mrs June McShane, Volunteer, Post 19 Lobby Group, Mrs Ruth Walker, Vice-Principal Sperrinview Special School and Mrs Denise Warnock, Volunteer Post 19 Lobby Group.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the Hansard of the briefing to the Department for comment on the issues raised.

The representatives left the meeting at 12.21 pm.

12. Any other Business

• The Committee considered the announcement by the First Minister and deputy First Minister of 10,000 one year work placements in the new "United Youth Programme" for young people aged 16-24 years of age who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister, inviting him to provide an oral briefing on the impact of the announcement on the work of his Department, including the budgetary impact and any issues relating to the practicalities of how it will sit with his existing and planned programmes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister for information on the impact of the announcement on the work of the Department of Employment and Learning including any budgetary impact and issues around the practicalities of how it will sit with existing and planned programmes.

12.23 pm Ms McGahan left the meeting.

• The Committee considered the recent announcements of new jobs created at Wrightbus and Allstate.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ascertain what it is doing to ensure that relevant training is available to enable these jobs to be filled.

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday 22 May 2013 at 10:00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.25 pm.

Mr Robin Swann MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
22 May 2013

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