Who is the new Apprenticeships and Skills Minister?

New FE and Skills Minister - Ann Milton


Following the shock dismissal of Robert Halfon as Apprenticeships and Skills Minister on Sunday, his replacement has been announced. What will she bring to the Further Education sector?

Who is the now in charge of Apprenticeships and Skills?

Anne Milton

Previous Positions:
Ms Milton was appointed to the Health Select Committee where she served until December 2006 after which she was appointed Shadow Minister for Tourism. In summer 2007, David Cameron appointed her as Shadow Minister for Health. Between 2010-2012, she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Public Health), Department of Health and was later appointed a Government Whip in 2012. Most recently (2015-2017), she was the deputy chief whip in the House of Commons.

Interesting Facts:

  • Prior to her entry into politics, Ms Milton worked as a nurse in the NHS for 25 years, specialising in palliative care.

  • She lives in Guildford with her husband and has four children, one of whom is a talented sailor.

  • She was one of the most efficient and respected whips in her party.

  • In March 2015, she was appointed a member of the Privy Council to help advise the Queen on her duties.


What does this mean for the Further Education sector?

Previous FE and Skills Minister, Robert HalfonThe sudden dismissal of Robert Halfon, whose passion for Apprenticeships and Skills was no secret, came as a surprise to the sector. He had a keen interest in Further Education and implemented many positive changes, including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, college area reviews and the launch of the Post-16 Skills Plan. He was also the first MP to hire an apprentice back in 2010.

Anne Milton enters the sector during a time of change and we hope she will continue the passion and interest that her predecessor had for the Apprenticeships and Skills sector. As a sector, our main focus needs to be on Brexit and the changes and opportunities that this will bring. The new minister needs to promote Further Education as a way to deal with the skills shortages, financial challenges and educational opportunities that could arise. Our economy is going to need a strong skills system in place and Ms Milton will need to ensure that we are ready to manage this.

We currently have a record of 900 thousand apprenticeship starts and the promotion of Apprenticeships and Skills as an alternative to university provision needs to continue. We also need to ensure that lifelong learning continues to be promoted to both young people and adults. With retirement ages getting higher and people working longer, it’s becoming more common for people to have more than one career in their lifetime. The Further Education sector should be at the forefront of people’s minds when they think about retraining or enhancing their existing skillset.

Ms Milton has shown an interest in the young people in her own constituency and we welcome her to both her new post and the Apprenticeships and Skills sector. We wish her all the best in her new position and look forward to seeing what she will bring to Further Education. 

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