HC Deb 06 November 2001 vol 374 cc124-7W
Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many individual learning accounts have been taken up by residents of the Isle of Wight in each year since their inception, and what their total value was;[12562]

(2) how many individual courses funded by individual learning accounts have been provided on the Isle of Wight in each year since the inception of the scheme, what their total value was, and how many were completed; [12563]

(3) how many individual courses, funded by individual learning accounts, have been (a) commenced and (b) completed in each year since the scheme's inception;[12565]

(4) how many individual learning accounts have been taken up nationally in each year since their inception.[12564]

John Healey

On the basis of recorded postcode information available, 5,506 people from the Isle of Wight became an individual learning account member through the national framework, launched on 4 September 2000. The figure given is up to 31 October 2001. As a result, 3,038 episodes of learning have been funded so far on behalf of these members, resulting in £825,393 total learning costs. Individual learning accounts funded £533,477 of these costs.

The corresponding figures for England up to 31 October 2001, are 2,529,609 people opened an individual learning account, and 1,380,370 episodes of learning have been supported.

Information is not maintained relating to course completion.

Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information is collected on the(a) size, (b) capitalisation, (c) corporate status, (d) qualifications of staff and (e) range of courses offered by providers under the individual learning account scheme.[12561]

John Healey

Learning providers registered with the individual learning account centre are not required to provide information about the size, capitalisation, corporate status or qualifications of staff. They do provide information about the range of courses offered to individuals. They are also required to provide health and safety and public liability certification.

New registrations to become a learning provider with the ILA centre ended on 28 September.

Mr. Willis

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures are being taken to guarantee the quality of(a) the learning providers and (b) the courses on offer, through the individual learning account scheme. [9686]

John Healey

ILAs were designed to encourage more people into learning by helping tackle the financial barriers to learning. It was a key principle of the design that people were able to take responsibility for learning they felt to be most appropriate and most beneficial to themselves. ILAs are not and were not intended to be a guarantee of quality for learning or learning providers.

Of course the Government do not want ILAs to be used for poor value learning or by providers that cause concern. In July of this year, the Department started to receive increasing numbers of complaints from individuals and local trading standards officers. In response the Department took positive actions to tighten up the ILA system to address these problems. We re-registered all learning providers, withdrew blank application forms, suspended all new provider registrations, introduced a revised learning provider agreement that made it harder for providers to act against the ethos of the programme, and made changes to the applications process, for the same purpose. While we have taken this action the first safeguard remains an informed public looking for learning of value to them.

However, it became clear that these changes were not sufficient by themselves to prevent the mis-selling of ILAs. At that point we decided we had no option other than to withdraw the programme, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 24 October that ILAs are to be suspended from 7 December. The programme has exceeded the Government's expectations in encouraging very large numbers of people to take a new interest in learning, and has quickly expanded beyond its capacity. The programme has attracted over 2.5 million account holders.

Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information is collected on the(a) age, (b) gender, (c) employment record, (d) academic/ vocational attainment, (e) social class and (f) location of users of individual learning accounts.[12560]

John Healey

Characteristic information on age, gender, employment, academic attainment and location of the 1,246,449 individual learning account members who had activated their accounts in England, since the launch of the national framework on 4 September 2000, is given in the following tables. Although social class information is not routinely collected, the Department commissioned an evaluation earlier in the year and arranged for a question to be included in this. The report determined that the most frequently represented social class among ILA account holders was C 1 which includes non-managerial and non-professional administrative and sales staff as well as nurses and technicians.

Table 1: Analysis of active individual account members—England
By gender Number
Male 531,799
Female 710,707
Not supplied 3,943
Total 1,246,499

Table 2: Analysis of active individual account members—England
By age group Number
19–30 382,181
31–40 365,328
41–50 253,120
51–60 157,243
60+ 88,577
Total 1,246,449

Table 3: Analysis of active individual account members—England
By employment status Active ILA Members
Self-employed 98,560
Employed 765,167
Employed and self-employed 3,662
Not employed 91,130
Retired 49,749
Unemployed 144,565
Student 30,452
Other 34,814
Data not supplied 28,350
Total 1,246,449

Table 4. Active ILA members by academic attainment at point of

entry to ILAs

Highest qualification Number
Degree/NVQ4 or equivalent 181,491
A-level/NVQ3 or equivalent 162,381
GCSE/NVQ2 or equivalent 271,455
NVQ1 58,699
Other 4,498
Data not supplied 567,925
Total 1,246,449

Table 5. Location of individual learning account users
Region Number
East 102,813
East Midlands 103,332
London 215,445
North East 45,027
North West 128,580
South East 175,946
South West 118,741
West Midlands 222,487
Yorkshire, Humberside 94,389
Region unassigned 39,689
Total 1,246,449

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