Clause 5

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 12th June 2007.

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Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Skills), Department for Education and Skills 12:00 pm, 12th June 2007

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Atkinson. May I thank hon. Members for their kind remarks? It is good to be here in Committee. It is great to be with the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings whose articulate and eloquent contributions in Committee I know of old. He never uses one word when three or even more will do. That is always a real pleasure.

The clause means that schedule 3 paragraph 1(1) of the Learning and Skills Act 2000, which places the Learning and Skills Council under a duty to establish both a young people’s learning committee and an adult learning committee, shall cease to have effect. I will try to address the points that hon. Members have made, but first I should like to pay tribute to the work of both committees. They have played an important role in advising the LSC over several years and have worked extremely hard in promoting those interests. The evidence before us illustrates the work that they have been doing. There are now more young people in learning than ever before. We have more apprentices in learning and more young people completing their apprenticeships than ever before. More adults are improving their basic skills.

The hon. Member for Daventry is absolutely right: it is important that we now look at the existing adult work force. The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings made the point that 70 per cent. of the work force that will be there in 2020 is already in place. As well as working to improve the skills and employability of young people coming through the education system, we need to upskill the existing the work force. That is common ground between us on where we need to go.