HC Deb 23 July 1985 vol 83 cc851-2
5. Mr. Fatchett

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the review of vocational qualifications currently being undertaken by the Manpower Services Commission.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Peter Brooke)

In paragraph 39 of the White Paper "Education and Training for Young People", Cmnd. 9482, the Government invited the Manpower Services Commission, together with the Departments concerned, to review the range of vocational qualifications offered by educational, professional, and industry-based standard-setting bodies. A group has been established for that purpose under the chairmanship of a distinguished industrialist Mr. Oscar de Ville. The Department of Education and Science is jointly involved with the Manpower Services Commission in servicing the group. An interim report is expected in September, and a final report in April next year.

Mr. Fatchett

Will the Minister tell the House what consultation has taken place with those involved in the colleges and other institutions which provide the appropriate courses, and what action has been taken to overcome the fears of many educationists that this is merely another endeavour by the MSC to undermine standards and quality in education and training?

Mr. Brooke

Regarding the first question, the education service was included in a working group, which, between the publication of the White Paper and my right hon. Friend's announcement in July, worked on the scheme. The answer to the hon. Gentleman's second question is that it is a joint review. The MSC was placed in the lead in the review's establishment because of its responsibilities under the Government for the development of training policy. The review deals with standards of training and competence in industry and vocational education qualifications, such as City and Guilds.

Mr. Lawler

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is widespread support in industry for vocational qualifications that are taken at schools, such as the certificate of pre-vocational education, to count towards credits on craft-based qualifications and towards any qualifications that are taken at the end of the two-year YTS scheme?

Mr. Brooke

I assure my hon. Friend that the review which I have mentioned has an interest in qualifications such as the CPVE, not least because of the potential links between that and the youth training scheme.