HL Deb 12 February 2004 vol 656 c57WS
Baroness Ashton of Upholland

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Mr Charles Clarke) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I stated in the House on 27 January that I was commissioning a report to examine the gateways into the professions. I am pleased to announce the appointment of Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee, to lead this work.

Sir Alan will act as an independent person to oversee the report, which will examine how the public sector and the professions can sustain and improve recruitment opportunities for graduates, especially those who do not qualify for the full £3,000 support, and to make recommendations to Ministers on action that can be taken by the employing organisations to provide clear accessible gateways for all graduates who want to pursue such careers and which will benefit the recruitment needs of these sectors.

The report will cover mainly the public sector but will also look at good practice in the private sector and will include those who work in a professional capacity in the voluntary sector. Additionally there will be reference groups established, one for each sector and with voluntary sector representation on each group.

On the public sector, the report will analyse support that is currently available, (through bursaries, golden hellos, fee payment and loan write-offs), its effectiveness and future plans for post-autumn 2006. Furthermore it will assess whether these (plus any changes) are likely to continue to work after autumn 2006; and whether there are any gaps in what is available which are likely to create recruitment and retention problems.

On the private sector, it will research current and possibly international practice on incentives for graduates, and assess how employers might respond in a variable fees environment.

I am asking Sir Alan to start this work after Royal Assent this year with the aim of reporting to me by mid-2005.