HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc461-2W
Mr. Flight

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total expenditure on Centres of Vocational Excellence has been in each year since 1997. [176218]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

The Learning and Skills Council has made excellent progress in establishing a network of Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs). We aim to have a network of 400 CoVEs by March 2006. To date 262 centres have been established, which provide high quality training in a wide range of vocational specialisms to help meet employers' skills needs.

The programme started in April 2001. Expenditure in each year is:

£ million
Financial year Total expenditure
2001–02 1.8
2002–03 40
2003–04 78
Total 119.8

Mr. Flight

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what cross-departmental coordination there has been between the Learning Skills Council and the regional development agencies in the creation and administration of the centres of vocational excellence. [176902]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

The LSC has actively sought to engage Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in CoVE development at both strategic and operational levels.

The RDAs contribute to future development of CoVEs through membership of the LSC's national CoVE Technical Steering Group, and all have been involved in planning and implementation of the programme at a regional level through their representation on regional CoVE advisory groups. RDAs are key to ensuring that CoVEs focus on meeting regional skills priorities and that regional CoVE development is coherent with regional economic strategies.