Anne Milton is to take on the brief as minister for apprentices and skills, Tes understands.
Ms Milton, the MP for Guildford, would replace Robert Halfon in the role. Ms Milton began her ministerial career as shadow minister for tourism in 2006, before being named parliamentary under-secretary of state in the Department of Health under former prime minister David Cameron.
Between 2012 and 2015 Ms Milton served as a government whip, and latterly as deputy chief whip. Before entering politics, she worked as a nurse in the NHS for 25 years. She was educated at Central Sussex College, and has a degree from City University.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Congratulations to Anne Milton on her appointment as the minister responsible for skills and apprenticeships. This is a critical area not only for colleges, but the UK’s economy in a post-Brexit world. The implementation of the apprenticeship reforms and the introduction of T Levels will be high on the Minister’s agenda in the coming months. We had a strong and productive relationship with her predecessor Robert Halfon, and I’m looking forward to this continuing.”
'We need urgent action'
Stephen Evans, chief executive at the Learning and Work Institute, said: "We welcome the new minister to her role. As Britain prepares for life outside the European Union, the new minister has an incredibly important job to do in building the high-quality, responsive and accessible skills system our economy is going to need; providing life-long learning and apprenticeship opportunities for the current and future workforce.
"Further education and life-long learning is vital for social justice and opportunity. We need urgent action and investment to help the nine million adults with low literacy or numeracy to improve their skills. We need to focus on high-quality technical education and apprenticeships, ensuring they deliver jobs and career improvements. And we need to make sure employers get the skills they need, and invest in learning, to grow our economy. There are big challenges, but lots of people who want to make it work. I hope the minister takes an open and collaborative approach."
'Close interest in the future for young people'
And Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), said: "We’re delighted that we have a new skills minister who has taken a close interest in the future for young people in her own constituency and we welcome her to her new post. The minister will appreciate from a local perspective how vital it is that the reforms work well for smaller businesses as well as Guildford’s large employers that wish to offer young people apprenticeships and so we will be asking her to make the non-levy funding allocations her highest immediate priority."
He added: "We will also ask her to involve providers in the earliest stages of the design of the proposed new National Retraining Scheme. The expertise and experience of AELP members with their employer links could make a major difference in ensuring that the programme gets off to a successful start."