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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on progress towards the take-up of modern apprenticeships with specific reference to the provision of opportunities for employees working for smaller companies in rural areas. [130587]

Modern apprenticeships make an important contribution to meeting the skills needs of smaller companies in rural areas. The operation and delivery of modern apprenticeships is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council and I have therefore asked John Harwood, the council's chief executive, to write to the hon. Gentleman with the information requested and to place a copy of his reply in the Library.