Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 24 October 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

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

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

  • The Chairperson informed Members that he had attended the official opening of Riddell Hall at Queen’s University Belfast on 19 October 2012.
  • The Chairperson advised Members that a presentation by Mr Steve Myers, on his work on the Higgs Boson discovery, has been arranged for 13 November 2012 in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.
  • The Chairperson advised Members that he and the deputy Chairperson will host a lunch for Mr Myers in the Members Dining Room after his presentation in the Senate Chamber.
  • The Chairperson advised Members that as part of the Professional Development Programme for MLAs, a pilot project is being run with the Public Accounts Committee to develop questioning techniques.
  • The Committee considered briefings for its Inquiry into Careers, Advice, Education, Information and Guidance.

Agreed:    The Committee agreed to invite Mr Gordon Parkes, Human Resource Director, NIE to brief the Committee as part of the Inquiry into Careers, Advice, Education, Information and Guidance.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Electrical Training Trust for a written briefing as part of the Inquiry into Careers, Advice, Education, Information and Guidance.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed as amended.

4. Matters arising

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee considered correspondence from the Assembly Head of Information Systems and Strategy regarding tablet devices access to the project centre for the Committee’s Inquiry into Careers, Advice, Education, Information and Guidance.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Head of Information Systems and Strategy requesting that he identify alternative solutions to the issues preventing tablet devices access to the project centre or other solutions outside Office 365 as soon as possible.

5. Departmental briefing on ‘Delivering Success through Excellence’

Representatives joined the meeting at 10:25 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mrs Catherine Bell, Deputy Secretary, Mr Victor Dukelow, Deputy Director Analytical Services and Mrs Angela Whiteside, Deputy Director Quality and Performance on Delivering Success for Excellence.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 10.34 am.

The representatives agreed to provide the Committee with further information on the position regarding the numbers of STEM PhD students.

Mr Anderson left the meeting at 11.03 am.

Agreed:    The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting information on what action it has taken to train staff to deal with clients migrating from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Incapacity Benefit to Employment Service Programmes.

Mr McElduff rejoined the meeting at 11.27 am.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing in the New Year to consider the 4th Annual Report on Delivering Success Through Excellence.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.34 am.

6. Departmental briefing on the Research Agenda 2012 - 2015 titled ‘Underpinning Success’

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.34 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colin Jack, Director of Strategy, European and Employment Relations Division, Mr Victor Dukelow, Deputy Director Analytical Services and Mr Dave Rogers, Deputy Director Analytical Services on the Research Agenda 2012 - 2015 titled ‘Underpinning Success’.

Mr Flanagan left the meeting at 11.37 am.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the Quarterly Research Review Report.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the report on the ‘Research to examine the possibility of developing a tracking system for individual young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)’, when signed off by the Department and a copy of the second evaluation report on the impact of the Departmental research.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department that, in future, it provides along with every report a synopsis of the contents of the report.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting information on how the Department’s work is linked to the research findings.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to schedule in the Forward Work Programme an oral briefing on the Employers Skills Survey.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.59 am.

7. Departmental briefing on the Programme for Government Delivery Plans

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.59 am.

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 12.00 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mrs Catherine Bell, Deputy Secretary and Mr John Smith, Director of Finance on the progress against the Programme for Government Delivery Plans.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting an oral briefing on the key commitment referred to in the Programme for Government for the support of people (with an emphasis on young people) into employment by providing skills and training.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting a copy of the Destination of Leavers Survey for students leaving Higher Education Institutions’ and any available data for students leaving Further Education Colleges.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting an update on Departmental responsibilities within the Economic Strategy when available.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting a written update on the implementation of the Skills Strategy.

Representatives left the meeting at 12.33 pm.

8. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Response from Stranmillis University College to the Committee request for information on capital funding.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from St. Mary’s University College confirming first place in the National Student Survey 2012.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Response from Southern Regional College (SRC) to the Committee request for information on capital funding.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Response from South West College (SWC) to the Committee request for information on capital funding.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel providing a briefing paper from the Department for Finance and Personnel and Special EU Bodies on the strategic use of future EU funding.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward the briefing paper to the Department for Employment and Learning for information and comment.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel requesting that it provide a synopsis of the issues of relevance to the Committee and any actions that they wish the Committee to consider.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel providing a briefing paper from the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly on managing EU Structural funds in the Republic of Ireland.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Response from the Department to a request for information on Employment Week and the European Union Employment Forum Conference.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Department on the delay in the Review of Regulatory Systems for Qualification in Northern Ireland.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Department on the summary of responses to the call for evidence on the Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s review of Health Inequalities.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward to the Department for comment.

  • Invitation from the Federation of Small Businesses and Colleges NI to the Northern Ireland Future Students of Business Awards on 1 November 2012 in the Waterfront, Belfast.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Invitation from Action Mental Health to the launch of its research findings Pay Pennies - Rebuild Lives on 8 November 2012 in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Invitation to Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities Annual General Meeting and Seminar on 16 November 2012 in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Education on the Common Funding Scheme Review.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Education requesting to be kept up to date on the Review.

  • Response from the Committee for Education regarding the Northern Ireland Children’s University.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Response from the Committee for Education on the Review of the Examinations and Qualifications Regulation.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment providing an Assembly Research and Information Service research paper on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the paper.

  • Media coverage regarding Irene Megaw, South Eastern Regional College, who has been awarded FE Lecturer of the Year at the 2012 Teaching Awards.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to Ms Megaw congratulating her on the achievement. 

  • Response from Stranmillis University College to the Committee request for information on capital funding.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Minister offering to brief the Committee on the on-going review of Employment Law on 14 November 2012.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing by the Minister on the review of Employment Law on 14 November 2012.

  • Response from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Northern Ireland Children’s University.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • An article from The Detail magazine entitled “The financial lifeline denied to FG Wilson Employees” regarding the European Globalisation and Adjustment Fund.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Response from UCAS regarding the Republic of Ireland’s Central Admissions Office admissions criteria.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to return to this item at a future meeting.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Justice regarding an individual’s complaint against Lisburn Technical College in relation to the provision of basic education training.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to South Eastern Regional College for comment.

  • Invitation from Queen’s University Belfast to the Centre for Behavioural Analysis second annual QUART Conference - Ambitious for All: Autism, Behaviour Intervention and Learning in Whitla Hall on 30 November 2012.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Invitation from NICVA for the Chairperson to take part in a panel discussion at its annual general conference ‘Creating the Good Economy through job creation’ on 4 December 2012.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Invitation from Queen’s University Belfast to attend their Engineering Parent’s Evening on 8 November 2012.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

9. Draft Forward Work Programme

  • The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 30 January 2012.
  • The Committee considered correspondence from the Minister requesting that the Committee reschedule its briefing on the Employment Programme on 14 November to a date in early December due to the high volume of responses to the Steps2Success consultation exercise and to hold the briefing in closed session.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Minister requesting that the briefing remains on 14 November 2012 and is held in open session.

10.  Any Other Business

None.

11.  Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 14 November 2012, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.44 pm.

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
14 November 2012

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