From education to employment

John Hayes leaves FE for energy post in government reshuffle

John Hayes has moved from his Skills Minister post to join the Department of Energy and Climate Change as part of the coalition government’s first major reshuffle.

His responsibilities have been assumed by West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, who has been appointed as joint Parliamentary Under Secretary for both the Department of Education and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The announcement is being seen by some industry spectators as a demotion of the FE brief because Hayes was previously a Minister of State within BIS, which is a higher level role.

Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group college association, praised Hayes for helping to raise the profile of FE.

“He acknowledged the contribution FE makes to both economic growth and social mobility,” said Sedgmore.

“His unique style, warmth and passion were immensely popular. Matthew Hancock has a hard act to follow in many ways, but we look forward to working with him. I am sure that his background as an economist will lead him to ask some difficult questions of the sector, but they may be ones that need asking and that challenge us to raise our game even further. He has questioned the wisdom of the current funding regime, and we will welcome any further moves he wishes to make towards simplification and deregulation, in many arenas.”

Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said : “John’s strong championing of high quality apprenticeships as the flagship skills programme has served both the sector and the economy very well during challenging times. The biggest tribute I can pay is that the economic pay-off from his legacy will still be felt in years to come, so you could never apply the epithet ‘here today, gone tomorrow politician’ to John Hayes.”

Elsewhere, the government also announced it has promoted Employment Minister Chris Grayling to Justice Secretary. Grayling’s Work Programme responsibilities will now be overseen by Fareham MP Mark Hoban, who was previously Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Natalie Thornhill

(Pictured: Former Skills Minister John Hayes) 

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