§ Mr. McCabe
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to(a) introduce central co-ordination for work placements and (b) link work placements more closely to NVQ and GNVQ qualifications. 
§ Margaret Hodge
[holding answer 8 April 2003]: Overall responsibility for work placement arrangements rests with the local education authority or school governing body on its behalf. The Department provides £25 million a year, via the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), for school/business links activities. Around £10 million goes towards the costs of the work experience programme. Central guidance and advice is provided by the Department and LSC to help local partners provide high quality placements. This guidance emphasises the importance of ensuring placements are properly integrated within pupils programmes of study, but we recognise the need for improvements in practice. As I said in my answer to the hon. Member on 8 April, we are taking steps to promote improvements in the context of our wider plans for work related learning.
For learners to gain a full NVQ they must complete a significant amount of learning in the workplace. Placements are usually arranged by the learning provider. At the start of the placement a training plan is agreed which sets out the learning required to gain specific units of the NVQ.