Results 181–200 of 7139 for speaker:Lord Willetts

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: Let me make some more progress. The problem is worse than that, however. We know, from the freedom of information requests that we have made and from the minutes that we have read, that the "no bad news" culture spread as far as giving deliberately misleading accounts of what happened at some of the crucial meetings of the Learning and Skills Council. The minutes of the meeting on 17...

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: There were clearly managerial failings within the Learning and Skills Council, but I do not think that it is feasible to say that the problem was simply a matter of those failings. We, the Opposition, are trying to hold the Government to account and to find out why there was a culture of bad news not being reported, of minutes of meetings being misleadingly reported, and of crucial...

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: I am going to try to make some progress, because many other Members want to speak. I want the Secretary of State to comment on certain other crucial points. We need him to tell us, authoritatively, how many colleges are affected by this problem. The figure of 144 comes from a letter that I received from the Learning and Skills Council after I had asked questions in the House, but we need the...

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: No, I want to make some more progress. We are told that one criterion will be whether a project is shovel-ready, but there will be others. What about the projects that are part of the wider regeneration of a town or district, for example? What priority will go to them? We also need to know what will happen to those colleges that have made commitments to buy land or commitments to move. How...

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: The Secretary of State is trying to address what is indeed a serious worry felt by many learning providers about their funding for 2009-10, but may I ask him to clarify one key point? When he refers to 2009-10, does he mean the Government's financial year or the academic year, which is what many providers use for the purposes of their planning? The letters that they received recently from the...

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I had a most enjoyable meeting with TUC representatives only the other week, during which they made the case for union learning reps almost as eloquently as the hon. Gentleman is making it now.

Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]: Skills in the Recession (18 May 2009)

David Willetts: I was very sympathetic to the case that they made.

Written Answers — Business, Innovation and Skills: Departmental Work Experience (10 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department has allocated to the new internship scheme as referred to in his Department's press release of 13 May 2009.

Written Answers — Business, Innovation and Skills: Higher Education: International Cooperation (10 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department has made available in 2009-10 for Palestinian academics wishing to study in the UK.

Business, Innovation and Skills: Apprenticeship Courses (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: I, too, congratulate Ministers on their new posts, although we believe that our colleges and universities are not simply the instruments of a Business Department, and they certainly do not look forward to reporting to Alan Sugar. I congratulate the Department on its efforts to improve social mobility with an imaginative new route into the House of Lords—four Ministers so far, and at least...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: The Minister referred to the report being published in the summer. That has been the official position for some time. Can she give any more detail as to when we might expect it? Will there be a statement to the Commons?

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: I welcome both the Minister to her new responsibilities, which include this important subject of social mobility, and this debate. I do not know whether she planned to have a debate on this subject within two days of becoming the Minister responsible for it, but it is welcome that she is at the Dispatch Box to speak on it. The right hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) is also in the...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: My hon. Friend is right, and that is why we propose, as a temporary measure, that extra postgraduate taught masterships should be made available for people leaving university this year who are finding it difficult to get a job.

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: Well, we hope so. We will have an unusual development this summer, which will see the toughest recruitment round for graduates since the big expansion of universities. We have had a steadily improving labour market overall for the past 15 years, and I hope that what the Minister says is correct and the evidence on the blighting of life chances by periods of unemployment does not apply to...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: There are, of course, a range of reasons why young people are NEET, but I was quoting OECD figures that are comparable. They are on the same basis for Britain in 2005 as they are for Britain in 2000. They allow comparison between Britain and other advanced western countries. Whatever we think about the composition of that group, I am making two points about the trend. First, the trend in the...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: I am afraid that I do not follow the Minister's point.

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: I have had this conversation with Professor Pring, and I want to make a further point about NEETs in a moment. Let me reiterate: the fact that we have had this economic growth across the west is not the point. I am quoting from the OECD documents on what has happened to NEETs in Britain compared with what happened in other advanced countries and across time. We have an obligation to explain...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: I do not think that children's opportunities can or should be determined by their experience in the early years. Early years matter, but I expect my hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) will speak later in the debate about what has happened to adult learning opportunities. The absolute decline of more than 1 million adult learning places suggests that there...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: I accept that. That is why the Government's various changes to the careers service over the past 10 years have really not helped. I do not think that the quality of careers advice, or the creation of Connexions, has helped at all. We believe that there should be a professional all-age careers advice service that independently assists young people who are making their way in the world. There...

Bill Presented: Social Mobility and the Professions (11 Jun 2009)

David Willetts: We support apprenticeships, but part of the problem is the new broader definition of apprenticeships, which includes level 2 as well as level 3 and is part of the UCAS problem. So far as I know, no other advanced western country calls level 2 "apprenticeships"; by and large that description is reserved for level 3, as it used to be here. Using some of the Train to Gain budget, we have...


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