20 July 2016

The new Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, has confirmed the appointment of Robert Halfon MP as the Minister of State at the Department for Education with responsibility for apprenticeships and skills.

The new role covering both skills and apprenticeships will replace the role of Minister of State for Skills, previously held by Nick Boles MP.

While specific details of Mr Halfon’s role have yet to be published on the Government website, it will be likely to include the responsibility for further education and its links with the Government’s agendas for skills and apprenticeships.

This will include the continuing post-16 Area Based Reviews, overseeing the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, and implementing the new Post-16 Skills Plan.

Robert Halfon has been MP for Harlow since 2010 and served as a Minister without Portfolio from May 2015 until the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Paul Eeles, Chief Executive of Skills and Education Group, comprising emfec, said:

"We are delighted to see that there will once again be a specific Minister overseeing skills and working with colleges, providers and employers to ensure that learners of all ages have access to high-quality education and training.

“Combining this with the responsibility for apprenticeships makes sense, and will give us further hope that the new departmental structure will be an opportunity to ensure all pupils experience a seamless transition from school into both academic and vocational post-16 pathways.

“We look forward to working with Mr Halfon on issues affecting the FE and skills sector and informing him of the many successes of our members in the East Midlands, as well as the colleges and providers we work with further afield."

Mr Halfon is well known for raising awareness of apprenticeships and support for University Technical Colleges, and has been a key advocate in the Association of College’s campaign for disadvantaged college students to receive free school meals. He was also the first MP to hire an apprentice.