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Vocational Training

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions his Department has had with the Higher Education Funding Council for England on the effectiveness of prioritisation of skills funding at higher levels through its Strategic Development Fund. (235920)

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) set out its specific priorities for advancing its strategic aims and objectives through its Strategic Development Fund (SDF) at:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/finance/fundinghe/sdf/spp.htm

with its criteria for SDF bids published at:

www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefec/2007/0722/.

The SDF currently offers funding for four specific priority programmes, one of which is ‘employer engagement’. This supports a broad programme of high level skills activities in response to Government's priorities set out in the 2008 grant letter, and in order to create the platform for achieving the higher skills ambition set out in the Leitch report.

My officials are in regular contact with HEFCE regarding employer engagement activities funded through the SDF and receive periodic updates on progress and new developments.