How will the new education secretary affect the future of apprenticeships?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently named Gavin Williamson as the new education secretary, but how will that impact on apprenticeships?

Gavin Williamson apprenticeships

The Secretary of State for Education works in the Department for Education, and takes responsibility for:

  • Early years
  • Children’s social care
  • Teachers’ pay
  • The school curriculum
  • School improvement
  • Academies and free schools
  • Further education
  • Higher education
  • Apprenticeships and skills
Gavin Williamson apprenticeships
The new Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will be leading on the skills brief with ministerial support from Children’s Minister Kemi Badenoch.

Gavin Williamson, who was previously defence secretary, has been appointed as education secretary by Boris Johnson.  The Prime Minister announced his intention to invest in ‘further education and skills’ in order to develop technical and vocational skills for the 50% of young people who do not go to university.

It has already been confirmed that Williamson’s ‘skills brief’ included Further Education, Skills and Apprenticeships.  A spokesperson for the Department for Education stated that ‘further education and skills will be a priority for this government – and the Education Secretary taking the lead for this vital work is a reflection of that commitment.’ (FE News)

TES explained that, because Williamson is now directly in charge of further education, the sector now holds a full seat at the cabinet table.  He will also be supported by Kemi Badenoch (minister for children and families), who is a former apprentice who took her A Levels at a further education college.

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute commented that increased investment in further education ‘is essential for the UK to kickstart stalled progress in improving learning and skills. That must be at the heart of a strategy to secure our future prosperity and make sure everyone has a fair chance in life.’

The appointment of Gavin Williamson as education secretary and the focus on further education and skills seems promising for the future of apprenticeships, and Williamson himself seems excited to be a part of the Department for Education:

Gavin Williamson apprenticeships
Gavin Williamson excitedly tweeted about the ‘positive discussions’ he has had within the Department of Education so far.


Apprenticeships are hugely beneficial to businesses and are a great way to attract and retain the best talent. Using degree apprenticeships to train new employees or upskill existing ones is a great business move to consider, and the University of Kent offer a fully managed apprenticeship service which will support both business and student throughout the degree apprenticeship.