Leaders of the FE and skills sector have thanked Anne Milton for her commitment and passion, following her resignation over concerns for a no-deal Brexit.
Kirsti Lord, deputy chief executive at the Association of Colleges said Ms Milton had worked hard to champion colleges and the further education sector – "even when her colleagues were not so willing to listen".
"While there was a divergence on policy and implementation at times, we recognised many areas of agreement and always enjoyed working with her," she said. "The skills and apprenticeships brief is a tough one, but potentially one of the most important in government. A strong and robust skills system is paramount to the country to begin to solve many of the problems, now and in the future. We look forward to working with the next minister to help make that a reality.”
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Tribute to FE
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said that in her resignation letter, Ms Milton had shown that she was "a brilliant champion for apprenticeships".
"The apprentices I have met are universally inspiring", writes @AnneMilton. We agree, Anne, and thank you for all of the support that you have provided for #apprenticeships. You will be missed. https://t.co/S8y5pSPb8r— AELP (@AELPUK) July 23, 2019
Mr Dawe said: "The mark of a top-class minister is one who does not need to always rely on a supplied brief or indeed need to agree with every word in it, and AELP has always found Anne to be totally honest about the way the levy reforms have been progressing."
"On a personal level, I will really miss her and I hope that she will have an opportunity to serve in government again at some point in the future.”
A spokesperson for the Sixth Form Colleges Association said: "We thank Anne Milton for her support as the minister responsible for sixth form colleges and wish her well for the future. We hope that Anne’s successor will build on her work as an advocate for the sector and help us to make the strongest possible case for much-needed investment in the forthcoming spending review."
Sector representatives also took to Twitter to pay their tributes and thank Ms Milton.
The CBI said she had engaged learners, providers and businesses, while Education and Training Foundation chief executive David Russell thanked her for championing the sector "right up to your last act as minister".
Thank you @AnneMilton for championing Further Education strongly right up to your last act as Minister. Thank you also for the strong support you have given the @E_T_Foundation and our work helping teachers and leaders in FE be brilliant. Good luck for the future.— David Russell MSET (@DavidRussellETF) July 23, 2019