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Vocational Training

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many learner places funded by the Learning and Skills Council there were in each (a) local authority area and (b) subject area in each year since 2003-04. (258578)

[holding answer 4 March 2009]: For the number of learner places funded by the Learning and Skills Council in each subject area, I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 464W.

Tables 1-4 show the number of learner enrolments/starts by local authority which were funded by the Learning and Skills Council, from 2004/05 to 2007/08 academic year. Data cannot be provided on a comparable basis for 2003/04.

Between 2004/05 and 2007/08, there was a significant shift in the types of further education courses that attracted public funding. Realignment of funding towards longer courses offering adults the greatest opportunity to gain the skills to enter and progress in sustained employment has necessarily led to a decrease in the overall number of LSC funded learners over this period.

However, it cannot be assumed that these courses and learners no longer exist—where a course no longer attracts public funding, we expect colleges and providers to continue to offer those courses, at full cost, in response to demand.

A copy of these tables has been provided and the relevant data will be placed in the Libraries.