Skills minister Boles resigns as brief moves into education department

Skills Minister Nick Boles is one of several ministers to leave the government following the ascension of Theresa May to the PM’s office. His departure sees the skills remit taken on by the Department for Education.

Boles, who was initially a Boris Johnson supporter, switched his allegiance to Michael Gove for the leadership. He has held the skills brief since 2014 and announced his resignation on Facebook yesterday.

Justine Greening, a chartered accountant who has served in a number of senior rules for both the Coalition and Conservative governments, is to head up the Department for Education. In turn, the responsibility for further education, higher education and skills has been absorbed into her department’s brief – a successor to Boles has yet to be named.

The DfE will focus on “delivering more apprenticeships through a fundamental change in the UK’s approach to skills in the workplace,” said a statement.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time as minister for skills and minister for planning,” said Boles.

“I take particular pride in three things: the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, which will encourage more employers to offer apprenticeships and increase spending on apprenticeship training by £1 billion a year by 2020; the development of the government’s Skills Plan which heralds a transformation in the status and quality of technical education in England; and the introduction of permitted development rights which have made it possible to convert thousands of under-utilised offices and agricultural buildings into desperately needed housing.”

Boles was a key figure in the delivery of the apprentice levy, and as a remain campaigner, he had previously warned that greater investment in apprenticeships would be jeopardized by a Brexit vote. There is no word yet on who will take over the skills portfolio