Who is Damien Hinds – and how will he affect apprenticeships?
It's all change in the Conservative cabinet, and there's a new education secretary in town.
In the Prime Minister's recent cabinet reshuffle, Damien Hinds has been announced as England's new education secretary. He'll replace Justine Greening – the first Conservative education secretary to attend comprehensive school – after she quit the party.
Damien Hinds has been a member of parliament for 8 years, and the UK employment minister for almost 2 years – so he's not new to politics. But compared to his predecessor, Hinds is quite a change.
Justine Greening is a straight-talking Tory who went to a comprehensive school in Rotherham - while Hinds is a policy-minded politician, who went to a Catholic grammar in Altrincham. Although Greening didn't always support the Tory's ideological policies, she was in favour of bringing back grammar schools. This was abandoned before the general election, but it's thought that ex-grammar Hinds will push forward with the policy.
Greening has been the Minister for Women and Equality since 2016, and has introduced social mobility 'opportunity areas' across the UK. Hinds is also a keen supporter of social mobility, and is the former chair of the all-party parliamentary group on social mobility.
This where the old and the new align. Hinds is likely to continue Greening's work to review university fees and expand apprenticeships. Last year's apprenticeship reforms were a shock to the system, but they work wonders for social mobility. Hinds will soon be under pressure to address the UK's social mobility crisis – and apprenticeships could be his go-to solution.
The new breed of apprenticeships attracts a more diverse selection of learners than ever before. The new higher and degree-level apprenticeships in particular, give people from all walks of life the opportunity to gain high-level qualifications – without having to pay university fees. This will help attract the most talented recruits to all sectors – from engineering to law – no matter their background.
Apprenticeships are great for employers, learners, the future of the UK workforce – and Damien Hinds' social mobility targets. Even with a new education secretary in place, we think apprenticeships will continue to be big news across the country – and overseas.
For the full lowdown on the new world of apprenticeships, download our A-Z guide to apprenticeships.