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Basic Skills

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the use of languages other than English and Welsh in advertising skills courses. (274061)

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills do not advertise skills courses.

Responsibility for advertising skills courses rest with the colleges or course providers.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to increase skills levels amongst 18 to 24 year-olds. (278331)

We now have the highest-ever level of young adults participating in learning. We are taking a joined-up approach across government to ensure that all young adults have the skills they need to obtain a meaningful job with prospects.

Young adults up to the age of 25 are entitled to provision leading up to and including a full Level 3 qualification, which can be taken up through a wide range of learning provision. We are also widening participation in higher education, to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit from HE are able and willing to do so.

Government have rescued and expanded apprenticeships over the last 10 years. We are providing over £1 billion of investment in apprenticeships for young people and adults in this financial year, supporting over 250,000 starts.

The Budget announced a guaranteed offer of pre-employment training places for young people age 18-24 who have been unemployed for 12 months. Over £120 million of new money will be available in England and the whole package is worth £1.7 billion. £83 million is also available to fund an extra 75,000 new work-focused training opportunities for those who have been unemployed for six months or more.

Young people over 18 on out-of-work benefits are already subject to conditionality, and we are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver an integrated employment and skills service so that those on benefits will be given extra help to gain the skills they need and to find work. The service includes early skills screening of 18 to 24-year-olds, piloting of mandatory skills health checks, as well as basic skills and job-focused provision. We are also creating a new adult advancement and careers service offering information, advice and guidance.