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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the foundation degree training programme in flood risk management; how many people (a) have completed the course and (b) are currently enrolled; what the cost to the taxpayer per participant is; and how many graduates were offered and (i) accepted and (ii) turned down relevant positions in the public sector in each year since the programme's inception.
The Environment Agency assesses the foundation degree training programme each year and in 2007 indicated a very high standard of readiness in graduates who demonstrated the necessary skills, training and knowledge to undertake their role in flood and coastal risk management. Of the first intake of graduates, 67 per cent. had the potential to progress further through the organisation. The 2007 review resulted in continued support for the foundation degree and business support for the provision of mentors for students.
56 foundation degree trainees (FDTs) have graduated FdSc Rivers and Coastal Engineering and 31 FDTs are currently enrolled. The average cost per trainee (including all costs) is £34,000. 54 FDTs have been offered employment of which 52 accepted.