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Welcome for new Committee for Employment and Learning

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 16 May 2007

Reference: E&L 01/07

The newly established Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning held its first meeting in Parliament Buildings today. Welcoming the formation of the new Committee, Minister for Employment and Learning, Sir Reg Empey said:

“I look forward to working closely with the Committee and I consider it to be an asset to both myself and the Department in helping achieve our key priorities and targets. I am fortunate to have a very experienced Committee who have a good knowledge of the Department’s key areas of policy and strategy.”

Speaking after the meeting, the Committee’s Chairperson Sue Ramsey said:

“I welcome very much the establishment of the new Committee for Employment and Learning. This Committee will monitor the work of the Department for Employment and Learning, be involved in the development of departmental policy and scrutinise proposed legislation. It will also initiate inquiries and report its findings to the Assembly.”

The responsibility of the Department for Employment and Learning is to promote learning and skills, to prepare people for work and to support the economy. It achieves this aim by enhancing the provision of learning and skills; increasing the level of research and development, creativity and innovation in the Northern Ireland economy; helping individuals to acquire jobs and improve the linkages between employment programmes and skills development; and the development and maintenance of the framework of employment rights and responsibilities.

The Committee will shortly draw up a detailed programme of work that will focus on a number of key strategic areas.

Ms Ramsey went on to say:

“I am confident that our Committee will play an important role in supporting and developing higher and further education provision and in ensuring that the training and employment needs of local people are fully addressed.”

The Committee’s areas of responsibility include further and higher education and adult learning; vocational skills development and sector training initiatives; employment services; teacher careers and guidance services; student support and post-graduate awards; employment law, dispute resolution and labour relations; and delivery of European funding.

The Deputy Chairman of the new Committee is Mr Jimmy Spratt, and the other members of the Committee are: Mr Alex Attwood, Mr Paul Butler, Ms Anna Lo, Mr Nelson McCausland, Mr David McClarty, Mr Basil McCrea, Mrs Claire McGill, Mr Robin Newton and Mr Jim Wells.

Enquiries about the work of the Committee should be directed to the Clerk to the Committee, Room 283, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX, Tel: 028 9052 1653 or email:

For further information regarding the work of the Committee contact:

Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX. Telephone 028 9052 1137. Website:; E-mail:

For Media queries regarding the Department for Employment and Learning contact:
Department for Employment and Learning Press Office. Telephone 028 9025 7872.

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