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AoC welcomes new Skills, FE and HE Minister Andrea Jenkyns to her post

13th July 2022

Andrea Jenkyns Parliament

Responding to the announcement that Andrea Jenykns has been appointed Skills, FE and HE Minister in the Department for Education, David Hughes, AoC chief executive, said: “I would like to welcome to Andrea Jenykns to her new position as Skills, FE and HE Minister and expect she will be a real champion for colleges and lifelong learning, given she herself returned to education to study for a BTEC and is an Open University alumnus.

“She inherits an ambitious and vital skills agenda. One of the issues at the top of her in-tray is the ongoing staff recruitment and retention crisis in colleges. With the former Education Secretary now at Number 11, I would urge her to make the case to Treasury for urgent funds to improve college staff pay. With college teachers able to earn more in industry or schools, we risk losing our top teaching talent and with it the ability to train our students, the very people who will drive economic growth, productivity and levelling up in key sectors including construction, engineering and health.

“While we continue to support the roll-out of T Levels, the new minister should recognise that there are serious risks in the path being taken through de-funding existing qualifications. Our research shows large numbers of students are likely to be left without a qualification to study because T Levels will not be suitable for all, and work placements continue to be a challenge in many parts of the country. DfE needs to take a more cautious approach, have more belief that T Levels will be successful in their own right and put off defunding courses which are still needed.

“I look forward to meeting the new minister and AoC will support her and her officials as she starts out in post at this exciting time for the sector.”