§ Rob Marris
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets he has set for the number of small and medium-sized enterprises engaged with the Modern Apprenticeship scheme in(a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05; what measures he has developed for assessing employer engagement in Modern Apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement. 
Table A: NDS Allocations to schools in the Wirral, South constituency School Project Package Funding (£) 1997/98 Barnston Primary School Continuation of roofing and structural repairs LEA-wide grant 1375,000 Bebington High School Continuation of roofing and structural repairs LEA-wide grant 1375,000 1998/99 Church Drive Primary School Chimney stack repairs, bay window repairs/replace 28,600 Wirral Grammar School for Girls Replacement of fume cupboards etc, external guttering, structural repairs to two room, fire precautions 104,500 Barnston Primary School Remove lagging (asbestos) boiler house 2,200 Brookhurst Primary School Frame renewal and repair 66,000 Millfields Primary School Frame renewal, boundary fence provision 66,000 1999/2000 Higher Bebington Junior School Heating boiler plant repairs Project including 13 schools 2340,900 Higher Bebington Junior School Repair element structure Project including 15 schools 21,289,200 Grove Street Primary School Repair element roofing Project including 17 schools 2950,300
§ Mr. Ivan Lewis
[holding answer 14 May 2004]: We have not set any targets for the number of SMEs to be engaged in Apprenticeships. The "Learning and Training at Work" survey assesses employer involvement in apprenticeships by firm size and sector. The last survey in 2002 revealed that 5 per cent. of employers were involved in Advanced Modern Apprenticeships and 4 per cent. were involved in Foundation Modern Apprenticeships. This equates to around 36,000 employers of which two-thirds are SMEs. The Department and Learning and Skills Council are considering the most effective way to collect data on employer involvement in the future.
It is crucial, however, to the success of Apprenticeships and in meeting the high demand from young people, that more employers, including SMEs, are involved. Therefore on 10 May 2004, a television advertising campaign started directed at engaging with more employers and there will be direct marketing to employers of all sizes The Modern Apprenticeship Task Force, chaired by Sir Roy Gardner, has increasing employer engagement as its primary function and good progress is being made. The taskforce is due to report in autumn 2004.