4 Key Changes under Theresa May that will affect skills...

July 21 2016

  1. The BIS department is no more: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has become the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department. It is led by Greg Clark, formerly communities and local government secretary. As a result, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has been scrapped, as its brief has been folded into BEIS.

  2. Department for Education has been expanded: Responsibility for apprenticeships, skills, further education and universities has been moved from Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to the Department for Education. The government says this is to create a comprehensive end-to-end view of skills and education.

  3. There have been some key ministerial changes: Justine Greening has replaced Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education. A new minister for apprenticeships and skills has been created and Robert Halfon has been appointed to this position. Halfon was the first MP to employ a full time apprentice in his Westminster office in 2010.

  4. Skills reform: Halfon's appointment to this post comes at a time of extensive reform of skills policy; with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, devolution of the adult education budget and the launch of the post 16 skills plan.

Impact of these changes for Business:

  • The policy landscape is changing and developing very quickly, with sudden changes of Ministers and Secretaries of State; announcements on the detail of these new policies are likely to be delayed. 

  • Though the move of apprenticeships and Higher Education into the DFE will result in a more connected approach to skills and education; there are no longer any Ministers shared with the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This means that it will be important to ensure that business’s voices are heard within the department as their input must not be lost, particularly considering the increased role employers are expected to play in skills and education.

  • As the government is taking an increasingly connected approach to skills; connecting education to employability, businesses will need to look at how they can take a similarly connected approach to inspiring, hiring and growing young people. With government taking a longer view businesses need to also look at how they can support young people at every stage of their journey to employment; from the classroom to the boardroom.