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Economic Downturn

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what discussions he has had with higher education institutions and universities on assistance they can provide to people and businesses during the economic downturn; and if he will make a statement. (252529)

I have met with university vice-chancellors, representatives of university careers services and graduate recruiters to discuss the response of universities to the economic downturn. The recent publication “Standing Together” provides impressive evidence of universities helping business.

I am particularly pleased that HEFCE is supporting universities to help individuals through the announcement of the £50 million Economic Challenge Investment Fund announced earlier this week. We are also helping graduates re-train by trebling the number of professional and career development loans and working with major employers and the third sector to encourage internships and volunteering, both of which provide valuable employability skills for young graduates.