First ever debate on a Petitions Committee report to take place in Plenary

Published 16/02/2011   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

First ever debate on a Petitions Committee report to take place in Plenary

16 February 2011

A report from the National Assembly for Wales’s Petitions Committee will be debated in Plenary today (16 February) – the first time one of its reports has been debated.

The nature of the Committee means that its work is not usually discussed in the chamber, but its report on work-based learning provision will be formally debated by AMs.

The inquiry stemmed from a petition from children’s charity Action for Children which claimed that work-based learning was not meeting the needs of vulnerable young people - particularly those living independently.

The report, published in December, found that vulnerable learners can face additional barriers to accessing and progressing through work based learning.

It indicated a lack of personal support for some work-based learners and recommended that the Welsh Government considered allocating a personal adviser to those who live independently.

It also highlighted discrepancies in income between those in work-based learning and those who pursue further education, acting as a disincentive for young learners who can’t afford to carry out work-based learning.

It recommended that the Welsh Government re-considered its financial support for vulnerable learners and identified a lead agency to facilitate collaboration and effective partnership working.

Committee Chair, Christine Chapman AM, said: “It will be a pleasure to open the first Plenary debate on behalf of the Petitions Committee.

“This inquiry resulted from a petition from Action for Children, which shows how the petitions process has developed and matured in the past four years and how the public can influence the work of the National Assembly in helping to scrutinise the Welsh Government.

“Our report acknowledged the significant improvements to work-based learning over recent years, but demonstrated a number of areas of concern - particularly for the most vulnerable learners who live independently or are homeless.

“These groups of young people are desperate to develop their skills and to build meaningful careers, but they can face multiple barriers and have to show immense amounts of personal resilience.

“We owe it to them to ensure that they have access to high quality work based learning which helps them to develop the skills they need. As a Committee, we welcome the Government’s positive response to our report and we look forward to discussing it today.”