From education to employment

Andrea Jenkyns appointed Skills, Further and Higher Education Minister

Andrea Jenkyns, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Skills, Further and Higher Education Minister

Andrea Jenkyns has been announced as the Skills, Further and Higher Education Minister.

Andrea Jenkyns was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of Education on 8 July 2022, but her role in Skills, Further Education and Higher Education was only announced last night. Her previous role was as an Assistant Government Whip.

Unions Criticise Jenkyns for showing the Middle Finger outside Parliament

Andrea has already come under criticism for her behaviour by Education Unions, expressing their ‘grave concern’ over swearing incident, where she appeared to raise her middle finger to crowds outside Downing Street during the height of the Great Government Reshuffle last week.

When Boris Johnson announced he would stand down as PM, James Cleverly was announced as Education Secretary (and was the third Education Secretary in post that week, after Michelle Donelan stood down after just two days in the role).

Last week was pretty chaotic to be fair, Jenkyns in response on Twitter stated that she has received seven death threats in the past four years and reacted to the ‘baying mob’ outside Downing Street. She added ‘she should have shown more composure, but is only human’.

So only time will tell if our new FE and Skills Minister is a bit of a rock star, showing the finger to the media… or just had a bad day and was feeling the pressure.

Andrea Jenkyns has taken over the Skills Minister role from Alex Burghart who resigned from the post last week.

Is Andrea’s role big picture joined up thinking of Skills, FE and HE?

What is interesting with Andrea Jenkyn’s announcement is that she is responsible for Skills, Further and Higher Education… like is she going to be looking at everything joined up and holistically? Maybe in a rock star kinda way? With a bit of innovation and out of the box thinking… let’s hope so!

Welcome, Andrea Jenkyns!

Sector Reaction to Andrea Jenkyn’s announcement as Skills, FE and HE Minister

Jane Hickie 20Dec 100x100

Jane Hickie, AELP Chief Executive, said:

“We welcome Andrea Jenkyns to her new role as Skills, Further and Higher Education Minister. The skills sector, as always, is raring to support government’s ambition to create a world-class skills system. Independent training providers have proven that they can deliver high quality provision- in line with the needs of employers- in a very agile and flexible way. However, there are some big challenges ahead – including the impact of inflation and rising costs, staff recruitment and retention issues, and the reform of level 2 and below qualifications. We look forward to discussing these challenges and opportunities with her soon.”

Stephen Evans Dec 2018 100x100

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said:

“With economic inactivity on the rise and many in need of reskilling and retraining, it’s never been more vital to improve access to learning and skills. Yet employer investment in skills has plummeted 28% since 2005 and higher inflation is eating away at the adult skills budget, likely to leave it £1bn lower in 2025 than in 2010. Although policy change may not be imminent, this must be top of the priority list in order to boost growth and widen individual opportunity”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

David Hughes, AoC chief executive, said:

“I would like to welcome to Andrea Jenykns to her new position as Skills, FE and HE Minister and expect she will be a real champion for colleges and lifelong learning, given she herself returned to education to study for a BTEC and is an Open University alumnus.

“She inherits an ambitious and vital skills agenda. One of the issues at the top of her in-tray is the ongoing staff recruitment and retention crisis in colleges. With the former Education Secretary now at Number 11, I would urge her to make the case to Treasury for urgent funds to improve college staff pay. With college teachers able to earn more in industry or schools, we risk losing our top teaching talent and with it the ability to train our students, the very people who will drive economic growth, productivity and levelling up in key sectors including construction, engineering and health.

“While we continue to support the roll-out of T Levels, the new minister should recognise that there are serious risks in the path being taken through de-funding existing qualifications. Our research shows large numbers of students are likely to be left without a qualification to study because T Levels will not be suitable for all, and work placements continue to be a challenge in many parts of the country. DfE needs to take a more cautious approach, have more belief that T Levels will be successful in their own right and put off defunding courses which are still needed.

“I look forward to meeting the new minister and AoC will support her and her officials as she starts out in post at this exciting time for the sector.”

Mark Cameron OBE, CEO, The 5% Club:

“The 5% Club would like to extend a warm welcome to Andrea Jenkyns to the new role as Skills, FE and HE minister and hope the linkage of these three important areas of the education portfolio is a clear statement of intent on the importance of post-16 education, especially in addressing the our national critical skills needs, through a mix of on-campus and workplace learning.”

Related Articles