Skill Shortages in Business and Industry

Debate between Baroness Morgan of Cotes and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 28th February 2024

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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Apprenticeship starts fell because we had to do so much work with what we inherited as an apprenticeship system to make sure that we offered the quality that employers required. I do not agree that the apprenticeship levy requires a major overhaul. In the last two years, the levy has effectively been fully spent; where it is not spent by levy-paying employers, either they can spend 25% of the levy on companies within their own supply chains, so enhancing that productivity, or it can be spent by small and medium-sized enterprises. I wonder what the noble Baroness would say to them if her party was to be elected and go through with its proposed policy.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con)
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My Lords, as chair of the East Midlands Institute of Technology and of the national Careers & Enterprise Company, I think my noble friend is somewhat selling this Government’s achievements short in support for training, skills and careers advice. Does she agree that the important thing now is to make sure that the system—a strengthening system—continues, including working with the local skills improvement partnerships?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I would never want to sell this Government’s achievements short. I absolutely agree with my noble friend’s point about working with local skills improvement partnerships and getting a sense of where the emerging opportunities are in each area of the UK.

Schools: Artificial Intelligence Software

Debate between Baroness Morgan of Cotes and Baroness Barran
Thursday 19th January 2023

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I suggest that teachers and educationalists do know the difference. The big change that we are seeing is the development of these LLMs—large language models—and other types of AI. However, I think that particularly for people with special educational needs, whether children or adults, this could really unlock their education in a way we have not seen previously.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for her answer because she has set out opportunities for pupils, particularly for those with special needs. She mentioned the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council. Does she agree that the responsible use of AI in schools would set up our young people for the workplaces of the future because AI is with us, whether we like it or not?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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My noble friend is absolutely right. The AI genie is out of the bottle, and it is how we manage the risk and capitalise on the opportunity. We are aiming to do that in our schools and universities. We already have a programme for creating 1,000 new AI PhDs through centres for doctoral training as well as opportunities for addressing the lack of diversity in the UK AI market.

Grassroots Sporting Fixtures and Facilities

Debate between Baroness Morgan of Cotes and Baroness Barran
Monday 11th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to permit (1) the resumption of grassroots sporting fixtures, and (2) the re-opening of sports facilities.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, sports and physical activity are vital for our physical and mental health, and important weapons in our fight against coronavirus. However, we have now had to take decisive action to enter a national lockdown, to save lives and to protect the NHS. We will make the return of grassroots sports and the reopening of facilities an immediate priority as soon as it is safe to do so.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con) [V]
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I thank my noble friend for her Answer; we understand the public health crisis that is upon us. Research for Sport England demonstrates the many positives of community sport and a more active lifestyle. As my noble friend said, we need people to be able to build resilience to Covid, and to tackle longer-term challenges relating to obesity and mental health. Sport and an active lifestyle do that. Can the Minister say when, in England, sports such as golf and tennis, which enable social distancing, as well as outdoor activities for children under 12 —still allowed in Scotland—will be prioritised for reopening?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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As my noble friend knows, I cannot give her an exact date on which those sports will reopen, but in recognition of the importance of physical activity, outdoor exercise within households, or with one other person from another household or your support bubble, is still permitted once a day in your local area. That obviously includes things such as walking, running, swimming and cycling.

Online Harms Consultation

Debate between Baroness Morgan of Cotes and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 16th December 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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In response to the noble Viscount’s second point, I will definitely take back to the department his suggestion about the retention of illegal content. He made a valid point about the duty of care, but companies will need to set out in their terms and conditions what the categories of content are and what acceptable behaviour is on their site. The regulator will expect them to take action against just the sort of people to whom the noble Viscount refers.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con) [V]
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My Lords, it was very welcome to see the Government’s response published yesterday, and I offer my congratulations to my noble friend and her fellow Ministers for doing so when so much else is going on. The misinformation about the Covid vaccine demonstrates just why these proposals need to be put into law as soon as possible. How soon will the Bill be ready to be published? Will we see it early in the new year? Will the draft secondary legislation be published alongside the draft Bill, and how long will both Houses and the public have for pre-legislative scrutiny?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The legislation will be ready next year. We will make final decisions on legislative timings nearer the time, but I think that my noble friend will have heard that the Secretary of State is minded to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny. I appreciate that some time has been taken on this. As my noble friend knows, we have taken a deliberately consultative approach on the Bill but are now working at pace to implement it.