From education to employment

Colleges welcome new cabinet

Prime Minister David Cameron and his Deputy Nick Clegg unveiled key cabinet positions within their coalition government today.

Conservative Michael Gove, who had previously hinted a willingness to give up a cabinet seat to ensure a deal with the Liberal Democrats, has been appointed Education Secretary.

Lib Dem heavyweight Vince Cable is now Business Secretary and expected to join a new banking policy committee under chancellor George Osborne.

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, welcomed the opportunity to work with a Tory-Lib government.

“We look forward to working with the new government and congratulate David Cameron on his appointment as Prime Minister and Nick Clegg as his Deputy,” said Mr Doel.

“We have worked very successfully with both the Conservatives and Lib Dems in opposition and we look forward to continuing this relationship in government.

“Colleges are central to the social and economic aspirations of this government, pivotal to the country’s success as innovative and flexible institutions responsive to the needs of individuals and business, as well as being at the heart of communities.”

The turmoil that ensued after a hung parliament was announced last week led many to expect any political arrangement to last little more than six months until another General Election was called.

However, the coalition leaders plan to spend far longer together by establishing five year fixed-term parliaments. Mr Cameron said their administration will be “united behind one key purpose and that is to give our country the strong and stable and determined leadership that we need for the long-term”.

As cabinet positions were being announced, Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group, which represents 28 of the most influential colleges FE, praised the “strong coalition” that was emerging.

Ms Sedgmore said: “Vince Cable as the new business secretary is someone with whom we can work positively, and the new schools secretary, Michael Gove, is highly experienced in education. We welcome strongly both appointments.

“This is an exciting time for further education and skills, and we envisage significant freedoms for colleges to play a critical role in skills, unemployment and social cohesion. We are keen to improve our services to employers and to be even more entrepreneurial and responsive, within a less centralised system.”

The coalition is expected to unveil the many junior ministers of its government tomorrow.

Jason Rainbow

(Pictured AoC chief executive Martin Doel)

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