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The Group’s Officers

Co-Chair: Karin Smyth MP, Labour, Bristol South

Since her election as MP for Bristol South in 2015, Karin Smyth has been a strong advocate of apprenticeships. She has frequently called for more SMEs to provide apprenticeships and the importance of providing better careers advice. In April 2020, Karin was appointed Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland.For four years running, Karin has worked with the Department for Work and Pensions, Bristol City Council and City of Bristol College to host an apprenticeships fair, following National Apprenticeship Week in February 2020. She is passionate about championing this agenda and supporting quality apprenticeships.


Co-Chair: Jack Lopresti MP
Conservative, Filton and Bradley Stoke

Jack Lopresti was first elected as MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke in 2010. He has had a long and varied career as a local councillor and army reservist, after working in his family ice cream business for over ten years after leaving school. Jack Lopresti has served on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Armed Forces Bill Committee and Defence Committee. Jack was the Chair of the APPG on Apprenticeships in 2015 and has frequently advocated for apprentices in the House of Commons.

Jonathan Gullis MP
Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North

Jonathan was elected at the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North on 12th December 2019. He previously worked as a secondary school teacher in Birmingham. Jonathan was a Head of Year and was responsible for the achievement, behaviour and safety of over 250 students. He oversaw whole school attendance for Years 7 to 11 and was also the school trade union representative for the NASUWT. Jonathan is focused on ensuring that a world class education is provided for every child.


Jim McMahon MP
Labour, Oldham West and Royton

A former apprentice at the University of Manchester and former Leader of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Jim McMahon became MP for Oldham West and Royton in 2015. Since being elected, he has been appointed a Shadow Minister for Devolution and Local Government and continues to argue that devolution of skills is needed in order to be tailored to the local job market. Most recently Jim was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.


Catherine McKinnell MP
Labour, Newcastle Upon Tyne North

Catherine McKinnell was elected the MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne North in 2010, following a career in employment law. She is a passionate advocate for apprenticeships, having served as the Chair of the Group for a number of years. Shortly after being elected, she introduced a Ten-Minute Rule Bill, the Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement Contracts) Bill, which called for the introduction of the requirement on public sector contracts having a firm commitment to skills training and apprenticeships. This has since become Government policy.


Andrew Jones MP
Conservative, Harrogate and Knaresborough

Andrew Jones was first elected in 2010 and had a successful career in Government having been appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury 2017-18. Prior to becoming an MP, he worked in various sales and marketing roles as well as being a councillor at Harrogate Borough Council where he was the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources. In 2013, Andrew Jones was appointed as a Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to Parliament. The role saw him work to raise the profile and prestige of apprenticeships within Parliament as well as with employers and the public.


Lord Aberdare

A passionate advocate for skills in the House of Lords, Lord Aberdare has frequently spoken on the success of UK post Brexit being dependent upon the country’s access to talent and skills. He previously worked for IBM and is a member of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce.



Baroness Garden of Frognal
Liberal Democrat

Baroness Sue Garden is the Liberal Democrat’s spokesperson in the House of Lords on Higher & Further Education and Skills. She formerly served as the party’s spokesperson for Universities and Skills. Before being appointed a Life Peer in 2007, she worked on vocational qualifications for City and Guilds from 1988 to 2000.



Lord Fox
Liberal Democrat

Lord Fox is a former petroleum industry engineer and technology journalist. He has also enjoyed a successful career in the engineering and technology sectors, holding a number of senior roles at Schlumberger, Tate & Lyle and Smiths Group. He currently holds a senior executive role at GKN. In Parliament, Lord Fox currently serves as the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and sits on the Science and Technology Committee.


Lord Young of Norwood Green

Lord Young is a former General Secretary of the National Communications Union. He also served as Governor of the BBC. He was appointed a Life Peer in 2004 and was the Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State, responsible for Skills and Apprenticeships at the Department for Innovation Skills and Universities in 2008-2009. Lord Young currently sits on the EU and Environment Sub-Committee. He is a former apprentice and currently serves as an apprenticeship ambassador.


Kim Johnson
Labour, Liverpool Riverside

Kim Johnson was elected as the MP for Liverpool Riverside in December 2019, previously working for UNISON as creative diversity manager in the Capital of Culture bid team. She is currently a member of the Education Select Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee. In Parliament, she has spoken passionately concerning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the educational attainment gap between black and white working-class pupils.


Theresa Villiers
Conservative, Chipping Barnet

Theresa Villiers was elected as the MP for Chipping Barnet in 2005, and formerly served in the Cabinet as Environment Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary. She currently serves on the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Petitions Committee. She works to promote apprenticeships within her constituency and has spoken passionately in Parliament about the opportunities provided by apprenticeships for a range of sectors, including nursing and aerospace.


Richard Holden
Conservative, North West Durham

Richard Holden was elected as the MP for North West Durham at the 2019 general election, and currently sits on the Public Accounts Committee and the European Statutory Instruments Committee. Before being elected as an MP, he had a 12-year career in the Conservative Party, working in various roles including as a special adviser to Education Secretary Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, before his selection as a candidate ahead of the 2019 general election.


James Daly
Conservative, Bury North

James Daly was elected as the MP for Bury North at the 2019 general election, and currently sits on the Justice Committee. Before becoming an MP, he served as a councillor in Bury from 2012 until he was elected. Before that, he worked as a criminal law defence solicitor.