HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 cc23-4W
Mr. Donaldson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what account she took of(a) the population and (b) the industrial needs of the Borough of Lisburn in making her decision on the allocation of places to Lisburn Institute of Further and Higher Education. [92951]

Mr. McFall

As a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review, an additional 600 full-time higher education places were secured in the further education sector over the next two years. These places have been allocated to six areas of skills needs identified as being important for the development of the regional economy. The six vocational areas are computing, construction, electronics, hospitality and catering, manufacturing engineering and software engineering.

Colleges of further and higher education were invited to submit bids for the additional places to the Department of Education. Bids were assessed against five common criteria so that places could be awarded on the basis of a college's ability to deliver high quality, relevant provision in the specified vocational areas. The five criteria were: expertise and experience of teaching staff, links with industry; resources; senior management commitment; and track record in provision of higher education. The population of the council area in which a college is situated was not taken into consideration.