Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 January 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10:03 am.

Mr Basil McCrea declared an interest in Agenda item 6 as a participant in the Boston College Programme, ‘Developing and Supporting Young Leaders’.

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Chair’s Business

The Chairperson updated members with his attendance on behalf of the Committee at the breakfast event organised by Employers for Childcare, and encouraged members to attend a Long Gallery event hosted by Voypic.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

10.08 am Mr David McIlveen joined the meeting.

4. Matters arising

  • The Committee discussed how it should carry out its scrutiny of the future of the Department.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to return to this issue at its next meeting.

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee noted that a visit to Wrightbus has been re-scheduled for 7 March 2012.
  • The Committee noted that the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 July 2011 for all six Colleges of Further Education had been provided by the Department and circulated to members.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to come back to this issue at its next meeting if required.

5. Briefing from Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT

The witness joined the meeting at 10.15 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Steve Orr, Director, on the work of Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT. The briefing was followed by a question and answer session, when Mr Orr agreed to provide the Committee with further information on San Diego’s Innovation Economy.

11.03 am Ms Michelle Gildernew joined the meeting.

11.29 am Mr Alastair Ross left the meeting.

The witness left the meeting at 11.31 am.

11.31 am Mr Thomas Buchanan left the meeting.

11.32 am Mr Jim Allister left the meeting.

6. Briefing from Participants in the Developing and Supporting Young Leaders Programme at Boston College

The witnesses joined the meeting at 11.32 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Carol Fitzsimons, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise NI, Ms Suzi Jarvis, Professor of Bio-physics, UCD, and Ms Maria Doherty, Programme Manager, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, on their participation in the Developing and Supporting Young Leaders Programme at Boston College.

12.00 pm Mr Barry McElduff left the meeting.

12.07 pm Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session, when Professor Jarvis agreed to provide further information on the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions.

The witnesses left the meeting at 12.19 pm.

7. Briefing from the Department on the Re-contracting of the Training for Success Programme

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 12.20 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Nuala Kerr, Director of Skills and Industry Division, Mr Des Lyness, Head of Re-contracting Branch, and Ms Angela McAllister, Head of Training Programmes Branch, on the Re-contracting of the Training for Success Programme.

12.28 pm Mr Barry McElduff rejoined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

12.34 pm Ms Michelle Gildernew left the meeting.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 12.47 pm.

8. Briefing from the Department on the work of the Further Education Division

Agreed: The Committee agreed to postpone this briefing until its next meeting.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Correspondence from the Department requesting that the briefing session on ‘Hard to reach learners’ should be postponed for one week.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to reschedule the briefing for 8 February 2012.

  • Correspondence from the Minister regarding Employers for Childcare.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Correspondence from the Department on how European Social Funding could be used to address NEETs.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Response from the Department regarding ESF match-funding for the North Belfast Employment Centre.

     Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response and to forward it to the North Belfast Employment Centre for information.

  • Response from the Minister outlining his views on the possible extension of the Ombudsman’s remit to institutions of Further and Higher Education.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response and forward it to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Education regarding the unavailability of Department of Education officials to brief the Committee for Employment and Learning.

     Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Press release from Colleges NI on the future of Further Education Colleges.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this press release. 

The Committee also noted a number of invitations received.

10.  Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme until the end of March 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it would reconsider scheduled briefings in view of the proposed dissolution and transfer of functions of the Department for Employment and Learning.

11.  Any Other Business

There was no other business.

12.  Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 25 January 2012, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.54 pm

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
25 January 2012

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