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COMMITTEE FOR EMPLOYMENT AND LEARNING
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS: THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2002,
Present: Dr Esmond Birnie MLA (Chairman)
In Attendance: Dr Andrew Peoples
Apologies: Mr Michael Coyle MLA
The meeting opened at 2.14pm in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of 19 September 2002
Agreed. Proposed: Mr Carrick. Seconded: Mr Hilditch.
2.16pm. Mrs Carson joined the meeting.
3. Matters Arising
The Chairman informed members that the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum in relation to Statutory Rule 224/2002 clarified how parental contributions would be treated in the case of students who had recently got married. Members noted that the Committee was awaiting a reply from the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) on the means-tested element of the assessment of student loans.
It was agreed that:
"the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 224/2002: Education (Student Support) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002 and has no objection to the Rule."
The Clerk was directed to inform the Business Office and to notify DEL.
4. Briefing from DEL officials on their Forward Work Plan
Members noted the Minister's reply on the Walsh Visa Programme, together with further correspondence from Congressman Walsh's Office.
2.20pm. Mr Dallat joined the meeting.
The Committee was briefed by Mr A Shannon and Mrs B O'Hare from DEL on the Department's Forward Work Programme. Future progress on the following key issues was discussed:
Mr Shannon indicated that the Departmental Board would be reviewing progress against targets in their Annual Business Plan for 2002/03 in November 2002 and that a progress report would be forwarded to the Committee.
Mr Shannon updated members in relation to the Springvale campus. Members noted that some of the partners had doubts as to the long-term sustainability of the campus and the Minister had asked the Springvale Board to commission a study of other models which might be viable. It was also noted that the Executive remained committed to the project, subject to a viable proposal being approved.
Following the presentation, the following issues were debated:
3.00pm. Dr Adamson left the meeting.
Mr Shannon stated that an announcement would be made shortly on Departmental restructuring and he would issue the relevant information to the Committee.
3.10pm. The meeting continued in closed session.
3.10pm. Prof McWilliams joined the meeting.
5. Committee Response on the Report and Action Plan from the Taskforce for Employability and Long-Term Unemployment
Members considered their draft response on the Report and Action Plan from the Taskforce for Employability and Long-Term Unemployment in closed session as the Department had classified the document as 'strictly confidential.'
3.25pm. Mr Hilditch left the meeting.
Following debate, the Chairman was authorised to approve the agreed amendments and arrange for the response to be issued.
It was also agreed to write to the Minister to determine the way forward on financing the implementation of the recommendations.
3.50pm. The meeting reverted to open session.
6. Committee Stage of the Employment Bill
Members continued the final reading of their Report on the Committee Stage of the Employment Bill.
Title page, agreed.
Committee membership and powers, agreed.
Table of Contents, agreed.
Executive Summary, agreed.
Extension of the Committee Stage, agreed.
Consideration of the Evidence on the Bill, agreed.
Clause-by-clause deliberation, agreed.
Minutes of Proceedings, agreed.
Minutes of Evidence, agreed.
Written Evidence Submitted to the Committee, agreed.
Members authorised the Chairman to approve the minutes of proceedings of today's meeting for inclusion in the Report.
Members ordered the Report to be printed and directed the Clerk to lay two copies in the Assembly's Business Office.
The Committee directed the Clerk to forward a copy of the Report to the Minister for Employment and Learning as soon as possible.
The Committee agreed that the Chairman should lay the Committee's amendment regarding the Short Title in the Bill Office.
Members noted information from DEL on their bids and easements in the September 2002 Monitoring Round and that officials would brief the Committee on this matter at the next meeting.
Members noted a response from the Committee for Education on Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses and agreed to forward this to the correspondent who had initially raised the query with the Committee.
Members noted the following correspondence:
8. Committee's Forward Work Programme
Members considered a draft Forward Work Programme and, in addition to the items of business already scheduled, directed the Clerk to include the following:
4.10pm. Prof McWilliams joined the meeting.
The Committee agreed that they would not hold any meetings outside of Parliament Buildings before the Christmas Recess.
9. Any Other Business
10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
On Thursday, 3 October 2002 at 2.00pm in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 4.15pm.
Dr Esmond Birnie MLA
3 October 2002
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