On Tuesday Her Majesty The Queen came to Parliament to set out the Government’s forward agenda. Behind all the ceremony of the State Opening, there are some really key details about future legislation and our priorities moving forward.
Front and centre of the speech was our continued commitment to protecting people from the pandemic through our vaccine roll-out, and a renewed push to reduce treatment waiting times caused by Covid-19.
A major part of our recovery plan is the levelling up agenda, which will ensure people are given equal opportunities in every part of the UK. This is close to my heart, having seen just as much talent at my failing comprehensive school in Knowsley as I do now in schools and colleges up and down the country. The only difference in people’s outcomes is still access to good quality education and the opportunities that follow.
As the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, I have my work cut out as we will be bringing forward the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill to transform access to skills across the country, ensuring that people can train and retrain at any stage in their lives, supporting them to move into higher quality, higher skilled jobs and equipping the workforce with the skills employers need.
We are working to achieve this at every age with, T-Levels; a new high quality A-Level equivalent technical qualification, and Skills Bootcamps; that offer 12-16 weeks of intense training with a guaranteed interview at the end. All being designed with employers, so we know the skills being developed are what businesses really value and need.
This couldn’t come at a more important time as we develop our high-tech, green economy of the future. Currently, the workforce already contains 80% of those who will be working in 2030. So, developing the right skills for the economy is crucial to hit our net-zero target by 2050.
This week has certainly been a Royal one, as I also met The Princess Royal, HRH Princess Anne, for a tour of our beautiful Chichester Harbour. Princess Anne was shown the unique wildlife of the Harbour, and as a patron of several children’s education charities, we discussed education and supporting young people to access water-sports including sailing.
On Friday this week, I will be holding my second ‘Outdoor Pub Tour’ at the Bosham Inn from 5pm to 6pm. For more information including how to book, visit www.gilliankeegan.com/meeting-gillian/. I look forward to seeing some of you there!