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The Group’s Officers

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. 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.

She is currently a member of the Treasury Select Committee, which scrutinises the policy of the Department for Education, including on skills and apprenticeships.

Gillian Keegan MP
Conservative, Chichester

Gillian was elected as the MP for Chichester in 2017. Having spent 25 years working and living abroad, working in the manufacturing, banking and IT industries, Gillian switched her focus to politics and was first elected as a local councillor in October 2014. In May 2015 she stood as a parliamentary candidate in St Helens South and Whiston, Merseyside, where she gained second place for the Conservatives for the first time.

Gillian is particularly interested in improving career opportunities for school leavers and attracting more business investment. She is a great advocate for high quality apprenticeships, having started her career as an apprentice at Delco Electronics aged 16 – an opportunity which gave her the right start in life to go on and build a successful career.



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.



Karin Smyth MP
Labour, Bristol South

Since her election as MP for Bristol South in 2015, Karin Smyth has advocated the importance of the apprenticeship route for her constituents. She has frequently called for more SMEs to provide apprenticeships and the importance of providing better careers advice. This she believes will deal with some of the pressing issues in her constituency, which has the fewest amount of people going to university and some of the most deprived wards in the country.


Lord Lucas


Ralph Palmer, the 12th Baron Lucas, is a Conservative hereditary Peer in the House of Lords. He has a special interest in education and was a member of the Digital Skills Committee for the duration of its inquiry in 2014 to 2015. He is also the current Editor-in-Chief of The Good Schools Guide.

He was a Government Whip in the House of Lords from 1994 to 1997, and the Shadow Lords Minister for International Development from 1997 to 1998.


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 Devolution Minister and continues to argue that devolution of skills is needed in order to be tailored to the local job market.


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.