Following the shake-up of the Department for Education last week with the appointment of Justine Greening as the new Secretary of State for Education, it has now been announced that Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, has been announced as the new Minister of State at the Department for Education.
While Mr Halfon’s key roles have not been confirmed as of yet, it is expected that he will replace Nick Boles as Skills Minister. The Department for Education is now being expanded to also include the roles of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, so it’s likely that Mr Halfon will be responsible for further education and higher education, including apprenticeships.
Mr Halfon has always been supportive of apprenticeships, having been the first person to hiring an apprentice in Parliament in 2010 and encouraging more politicians to follow his example and hire apprentices for their own offices. In 2011, he worked with the National Union of Students (NUS) to launch the National Apprentice Card; a skills based equivalent to the NUS Card offering members benefits such as high street discounts, access to events as well as a charitable fund to improve the learning experience of apprentices.
In 2012, he went on to set up the Parliamentary Academy in conjunction with the charity New Deal of the Mind Known. This was the first apprenticeship school for the Palace of Westminster, offering 16-19 year olds the chance to spend up to three days a week working in Westminster, along with two days working towards a level 3 in business administration.
Given his positive influence on apprenticeships in the past, it would seem to be a good move for the future to have Mr Halfon lead the way forward. If apprenticeships do fall under his remit, he starts at a busy time with the apprenticeship levy behind schedule in terms of their announcements, and the recently published Post-16 Skills Plan which will revolutionise the choices 16 year olds will have at the time of completing their GCSE’s.
If you’re interested in hiring or becoming an apprentice, you can discuss any questions you have with Aspire Training Team. The team work with businesses and young people across the South to place business administration, childcare and health & social care apprentices, as well as offer Team Leadership and Management training. Contact the team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.