Minister Halfon's speech at the Council of Europe

In a speech at the Council of Europe standing conference of ministers of education, Minister Halfon discussed the the renewal of the civic mission of education

The Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP

The former US President Theodore Roosevelt once said:

“No nation can be really great unless it is great in peace, in industry, integrity, honesty. Skilled intelligence in civic affairs and industrial enterprises alike; the special ability of the artist, the man of letters, the man of science, and the man of business; the rigid determination to wrong no man, and to stand for righteousness-all these are necessary in a great nation.”

Which is why we are undergoing a skills revolution in our country. We have been drawing on the best of Europe, including countries like Germany, Austria and Finland to revitalise our skills education.

Our aim for this revolution is that through education and reform, we create a skills ladder of opportunity with social justice at its heart. The top rung of that ladder is jobs, security and prosperity.

Apprenticeships are a key rung on the skills ladder of opportunity.

We have reformed apprenticeships to provide the skills that learners and businesses need. Over 680 apprenticeship qualifications, have now been carefully re-designed with the relevant industries, in professions as diverse from aeronautical to zoology.

We’ve also introduced T Levels for 16-year-olds - a new gold standard qualification that brings rigorous technical education to a new generation.

The government is also bringing through rigourous higher technical qualifications at levels 4 and 5, qualifications which have been designed by employers.

We are also introducing a lifelong learning entitlement to education and skills. Individuals will be able to use it to fund quality courses throughout their working lives. Like getting on and off a train, learners can alight and board their post-school education, building qualifications at their own pace.

The entitlement’s positive impact will be greatest for disadvantaged students, who are less likely to be in sustained education after 18.

Our recent reforms to higher education ensure that all students can be confident that they can get the skills they need for jobs that will benefit them, our workforce and economy.

We have established ground-breaking, tertiary education institutes of technology (IoTs). These are partnerships between higher education, further education and employers to provide the higher technical skills our industry needs.

President Roosevelt had a similar aim to the Council of Europe. It was a civic mission and it is the reason why all these reforms are part of my broader focus on ensuring skills are synomonous with social justice.

Department for Education
The Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP