Gavin Williamson has been appointed the new education secretary, replacing Damian Hinds who was sacked earlier this evening.

A former defence secretary in Theresa May’s government, Williamson has been the MP for South Staffordshire since 2010.

He was educated at a comprehensive, before taking his A-levels at Scarborough Sixth Form College.

He has previously spoken in the House of Commons on the topic of apprenticeships.

In a debate in March 2013, he said: “Apprenticeships have a vital role to play in driving down unemployment and getting young people into work.”

He also told the Commons: “We have to ensure people understand apprenticeships are as good, if not better than going to university.”

Williamson was sacked as defence secretary in May this year following allegations he leaked confidential information. He strongly denies the allegations.

He is the fifth education secretary in the space of just over five years.

Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Mark Dawe said AELP is “greatly encouraged” that Williamson was championing apprenticeships in the House of Commons “only six months after the Richard blueprint for the apprenticeship reforms was published”.

“We therefore welcome him to his new post and hope that he will translate the prime minister’s recent promise into action that apprenticeships should be ‘funded properly’,” he added.

Steve Frampton, president of the Association of Colleges said Williamson has stepped into the education secretary role at “one of the most crucial times in modern history”.

“The House of Common’s own education select committee this week released a report that warns that the education system risks ‘reaching breaking point’ unless government acts. And so we urge him to act and act quickly,” he added.

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