Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 21 November 2012

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened in public session at 10.10 am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

  • The Committee noted that the Chairperson was meeting with Women’s Training Network at 2.00 pm today in Room 28, Parliament Buildings and that Members were invited to attend.
  • The Chairperson advised the Committee that he had attended the “Get the Edge” Awards at the South Eastern Regional College, Lisburn Campus.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to visit the South Eastern Regional College as part of its Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 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 response regarding the freeze on tuition fees and the protection of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) budget.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and to consider it at a future meeting.
  • The Committee considered a proposed list of individuals and organisations to send Committee e-Christmas Cards to.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to send e-Christmas Cards to the individuals and organisations on the list.

5. Queen’s University Belfast briefing on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.16 am.

The Committee was briefed by Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Ms Wilma Fee, Director of Academic & Student Affairs and Ms Maria Lee, Head of Educational and Skills Development, on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

10.27 am Mr Allister joined the meeting.

10.30 am Mr McElduff joined the meeting.

The representatives agreed to provide further information on a range of issues as follows:

  • A detailed breakdown of the types of institutions, that the University students have attended such as schools, Further Education colleges, etc. and details of the geographical spread of students across Northern Ireland.
  • A list of schools the University engages with through the Head Teachers Forum and through the widening participation scheme “Discovering Queen’s”.
  • Details of Access Courses attended by some students for entry to the University.
  • Details of how the University provides on-line information and guidance on careers.

10.51 am Mr Allister left the meeting.

  • A response to the Hansard of today’s evidence sessions with all 3 universities, providing more focused responses to the issues raised and specifically detailing the practical actions that can be taken forward to provide a better Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Service in Northern Ireland.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.00 am.

6. The University of Ulster briefing on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.00 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Maria Curran, Head of Employability, Ms Shauna McCloy, Career Development Centre Manager (Jordanstown/Belfast) and Ms Moira McCarthy, Career Development Centre Manager (Coleraine/Magee), on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representatives agreed to provide further information on a range of issues as follows:

  • Details of how the University engages with all stakeholders.
  • A detailed breakdown of the types of institutions, that the University students have attended such as schools, Further Education colleges, etc. and details of the geographical spread of students across Northern Ireland.
  • Explanation of  the Step-Up Programme and information of the numbers, location and background of individuals that come through the programme into university.

11.22 am Mr Buchanan left the meeting.

  • Details of the challenges in relation to the quality and timeliness of careers information and guidance available to young people considering studying at university and to their parents/guardians in helping them make this decision.

11.33 am Mr Buchanan rejoined the meeting.

11.35 am Mr Anderson left the meeting.

11.40 am Mr McElduff left the meeting.

  • A response to the Hansard of today’s evidence sessions with all 3 universities, providing more focused responses to the issues raised and specifically detailing the practical actions that can be taken forward to provide a better Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Service in Northern Ireland.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.43 am.

7. The Open University briefing on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.43 am.

The Committee was briefed by Dr Frances Morton, Policy and Public Affairs Executive, Ms Heather Laird, Assistant Director Student Services, The Open University, Mr Simon Gregg, Student Services Manager, Student Registration Service/Support & Guidance and Ms Marina Lennon, Student Service Manager, Educational Guidance & Careers, on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

11.47 am Mr Anderson rejoined left the meeting.

The representatives agreed to provide further information on a range of issues as follows:

  • A detailed breakdown of the types of institutions, that the University students have attended such as schools, Further Education colleges, etc. and details of the geographical spread of students across Northern Ireland including by constituency when the information is available.

12.05 pm Mr Lyttle left the meeting.

12.08 pm Mr McElduff rejoined the meeting.

  • Details of any models of good practice used in England, Scotland and Wales.

12.10 pm Mr Ramsey left the meeting.

  • Details of the Careers and Employability Project and when the project will be concluded.

12.16 pm Mr Ramsey left the meeting.

  • Details of the university’s on-line forums moderated by careers advisers and how much cooperation there is with the Educational Guidance Service for Adults.
  • A response to the Hansard of today’s evidence sessions with all 3 universities, providing more focused responses to the issues raised and specifically detailing the practical actions that can be taken forward to provide a better Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Service in Northern Ireland.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to host an event in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings in the New Year to showcase the work of the Open University.

Representatives left the meeting at 12.22 pm.

8. Departmental briefing on The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and the Service Provision Change (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006

Representatives joined the meeting at 12.22 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Conor Brady, Head of Employment Relations Policy and Legislation Branch and Mr Andrew Dawson, Employment Relations Policy and Legislation Brach, on The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and the Service Provision Change (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006:

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to provide a copy of the Hansard transcript of this briefing session to a range of Unions and to the Labour Relations Agency.

The representatives left the meeting at 12.43 pm.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Strategic Investment Board (SIB) September 2012 Report on the Executive’s Investment Strategy.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the report. 
  • Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Activity Report Department for Employment and Learning November 2012.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the report. 
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise Trade & Investment requesting that Committee Chairpersons contribute to its Motion for debate on a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) on 26 November and a Research and Information Service briefing paper on the Small Business Research Initiative relating to the Motion.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and the briefing paper.
  • Correspondence from the Public Accounts Committee to the Minister for Employment and Learning regarding the Memorandum of Reply Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Minister.
  • Research and Information Service briefing paper on Moy Park Agency Workers Employment Practices.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to return to this matter at its next meeting.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister requesting information on the treatment of Agency Workers working for FG Wilson. 
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to FG Wilson requesting information on the treatment of Agency Workers.
  • Department of Employment and Learning research paper - Implementing 'Underpinning Success' Implementation Plan: Department for Employment and Learning's Research Agenda 2012-2015.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the report. 
  • Department of Employment and Learning research paper - Interim Evaluation of the Department’s Research Agenda (Nov 12).
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the report. 
  • Queen’s University, Belfast press release advising that it is to benefit from a slice of £60 million investment to help the UK’s leading universities turn their best ideas into good business        
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the press release. 
  • Response from Southern Regional College to Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment correspondence regarding Invest NI.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence. 
  • Response from the Minister of Finance & Personnel regarding improving the accuracy of financial forecasting by Departments.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence. 
  • European Commission press release regarding its ‘Rethinking Education’ strategy.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and to forward to the Department for comment.
  • Departmental response regarding the provision of timely and accurate financial information to the Department of Finance and Personnel.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Invitation from the Speaker to the Chairperson to attend the  launch of the first Annual Statement on Human Rights,  in the Long Gallery on 10 December and an invitation from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to attend a dinner that evening in the Private Members Dining Room.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

10. Draft Forward Work Programme

  • The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 13 February 2013.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a study visit to the University of Ulster Magee Campus as part of its Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a visit to the CERN organisation in Geneva in the New Year.

11. Any Other Business

  • The Committee considered the on-going pilot of Members Development Programme with the Public Accounts Committee.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that it wished to be involved in the rolling out of the programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to discuss a response from UCAS regarding the Republic of Ireland Central Applications Office Admissions Criteria at its next meeting.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to commission a Research and Information Service research paper on the model of training for apprenticeships used in Germany.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

The Chairman advised members that there would be no Committee meeting on the 28 November due to a delegation of Members attending the European Employment Forum in Brussels.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 5 December 2012, at 10.00 am in Belfast Metropolitan College, E3 Springvale Campus, 398 Springfield Road, Belfast.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.48 pm.

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning

5 December 2012

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