Why the government needs an apprenticeships and skills minister

Like it or not, Boris’s government has given a new life to the Conservative Party. The recent Cabinet appointments, controversial as some may be, have put the Conservatives at a 10-point lead in some polls and it looks like we’re powering full steam ahead for a No Deal exit.

The appointment of Gavin Williamson as Secretary of State for Education was an interesting choice given his previous role in defence however the recent announcement that the Government will not be replacing the Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, following Anne Milton’s resignation has left alarm bells ringing for a number of educators and businesses.

The declaration has been spun as an upgrade to the apprenticeships and skills brief, making it a priority for the Secretary of State, shared with the children’s minister and former apprentice, Kemi Badenoch. As many of us who work in the political realm are well aware, the Secretary of State’s priorities cannot be pigeonholed into junior ministerial briefs and there are concerns how this will work in practice.

There is a fear the Secretary of State will be unable to give this portfolio the time and attention it deserves and in reality, there is a real risk the children’s minister will end up juggling two ministerial briefs, jeopardising the progress the government has made in the apprenticeships and skills arena.

With the Prime Minister more determined than ever to leave the European Union by the end of October, the future of the UK’s workforce has never been so important. Ensuring we have the right apprenticeships and skills in place will be key to delivering a successful post-Brexit Britain.

The Secretary of State needs to give this important brief the priority it deserves by appointing an Apprenticeships and Skills Minister. The Conservative Party is rife with talent in this area and you do not need to look far to see those parliamentarians on the backbenches who are more than qualified for this position.

The Government should look again at their decision and act swiftly to reinstate this important role.

Anne Mirkovic by:
Anne Mirkovic