Milton replaces Halfon as Apprenticeships Minister in reshuffle

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon, who had only head the job for a little over a year, has left his post. Having overseen the final developments and introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the government’s flagship skills policy, Halfon now finds himself out of the skills brief after a little more than 12 months.

Halfon held onto his Harlow seat in last week’s election, but was informed of PM Theresa’s May’s decision yesterday. He said: “The Prime Minister has to make these decisions; I wasn’t really given a reason.”

Halfon was widely admired in the FE sector, having managed the tricky introduction of the Levy, which suffered from low levels of engagement and understanding across the political and business spectrum. But despite his departure, Halfon told the Evening Standard he believed apprenticeships should be the Tories’ “major number one offering” to young people to counter Labour’s pledge to scrap university tuition fees.

He added: “One thing I’m not going to do is I’m not the kind of person to start criticising the Prime Minister but I do believe that we need to start offering things to young people and one of those things is apprenticeships, technical skills, and to give them that ladder.

“We are the party of the ladder.”

Halfon’s job has now reportedly gone to Anne Milton, MP for Guildford. According to the DfE website Milton “was appointed to the Health Select Committee, serving until December 2006, following her appointment as Shadow Minister for Tourism. In summer 2007 David Cameron appointed her Shadow Minister for Health. Between 2010 and 2012 she served as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Public Health), Department of Health and was appointed a Government Whip in 2012.”