To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further steps he intends to take to encourage further business sponsorship in further and higher education.
The Government welcome the growing involvement of industry in all levels of education, and continue to support initiatives to maintain and enhance the various education-industry partnerships which are vital for the country's economic well-being. Notable examples of specific initiatives jointly supported by my Department and industry include the engineering and technology programme and the manufacturing systems engineering programme, which are designed to provide an additional 6,500 graduate and postgraduate places in engineering and technology disciplines by the end of the decade; and an education support grant initiative to provide modern computer-aided engineering equipment for senior technician courses in colleges of FE. The ETP was launched in 1985 and will continue to perform a vital function for the foreseeable future. The MSE and ESG initiatives will be launched in the 1988–89 academic year. These initiatives are based on partnerships between education and industrialists. Employers participate by providing equipment on loan or as gifts, and giving access to leading edge technology which educational institutions do not always possess; sponsoring students on relevant technician, undergraduate and postgraduate courses; and providing opportunities for students to obtain industrial and commercial experience within academic programmes.