Changes to Government Policy a Result of Committee Work

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 24 March 2011

Reference: E&L 11/10/11

Engagement with stakeholders and Government departments by the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning has led to real policy changes.

One of the greatest successes for the Committee during the current Assembly term has been the acceptance of the need for a cross-Departmental strategy to help those young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (the so-called NEETs).

The Committee concluded its Inquiry at the end of 2010 and made a number of recommendations, the majority of which have been accepted by the Executive and the Department of Employment and Learning.

Chairperson of the Committee Dolores Kelly MLA said: “Our most significant success and one that will still be producing results for years to come was our NEETs Inquiry. This was a huge piece of work but importantly the Committee was able to persuade both the Department and the Executive that a cross-Departmental strategy was required. A public consultation form the development of such a strategy is to be launched this week and, once completed, will shape programmes for years to come. This is a fine legacy and I am proud that my Committee has taken the lead.

“I am also very proud of all the work carried out by my Committee over the past four years in terms of engaging with groups involved in the Employment and Learning remit. We have gone out to visit a large number of the FE Colleges campuses, as well as all the university campuses and a large number of training organisations and other stakeholder groups. We have held Committee meetings all over Northern Ireland and have hosted well attended breakfast briefings, bringing together the different education sectors with training groups, small businesses and local government.

“We have also scrutinised Department training schemes, including apprenticeships and the Training for Success Programme which was designed to replace the JobSkills programme, through Committee Inquiries. These programmes are an integral part of increasing local economic prospects and our inquiries have helped to make these programmes better targeted, more effective and provide better outcomes.

“Employment and Learning has been one of the most proactive and accessible Committees at the Assembly and its work speaks for itself.”

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