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Skills Update

All change at the top

In his first week, Gordon Brown made several changes to the machinery of government and Ministerial posts which affect the way ConstructionSkills reports on its SSC and ITB roles…

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department of Trade and Industry were disbanded. The DfES was replaced by two new departments:

  • The Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills will be ConstructionSkills’ ‘sponsoring’ department. It will have responsibility for ensuring the UK has the skilled workforce it needs to compete in a global economy and the Government's wider skills agenda – including the implementation of Leitch's Review of Skills.
  • The Department for Children, Schools and Families will be responsible for delivering "high quality" and "tailored education for all young people". It will work closely with the new Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills to ensure successful 14-19 reforms.

Significantly, funding for 16-19 education will in future go to schools and colleges via the local authority education budget. We are awaiting further information about how this will work in practice.

Our new Ministers within the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills are:

  • Rt Hon John Denham MP – Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (this is comparable to Alan Johnson MP’s previous role; he is now Secretary of State for Health)
  • David Lammy MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Skills (this is comparable to Phil Hope MP’s previous role; he now has a position in the Cabinet Office)

David Lammy’s previous role covered the heritage remit under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so we have previous experience of working with him through the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG).

The Department of Trade and Industry’s responsibilities were split between a number of new departments, including the newly formed Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for International Development.

Stephen Timms MP takes on a Ministerial role at the new Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, in charge of industry and small business. This means the construction industry will form part of his remit, taking over the reigns from Margaret Hodge MP.

Finally, a dedicated Minister of State for the Olympics was also created. The Government Olympic Executive will remain within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and will report to a dedicated Minister of State for the Olympics, who will be based in the Cabinet Office and will attend Cabinet.

As the Sector Skills Council for the industry, we are starting to build links with these new Ministers in the same way we did with their predecessors, and continuing to lobby the appropriate departments for the best deal for the industry on funding, qualifications and training delivery. We are awaiting the Government’s response to the Leitch Review of Skills and this will shape much of this activity going forward.

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and discover how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update.

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