Universities minister Michelle Donelan is set to take on the FE and skills brief in the Department for Education following Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, FE Week understands.
Gillian Keegan, who has been the apprenticeships and skills minister since February 2020, has been promoted to the Department of Health and Social Care as a minister of state.
Multiple sources told FE Week that Donelan has been telling staff she will be responsible for all post-18 education after being confirmed as a DfE minister of state yesterday and promoted to attend cabinet.
The sources claimed that the dedicated skills minister role has been abolished.
The DfE is yet to confirm which briefs ministers will be responsible for.
Toby Perkins, Labour’s shadow FE and skills minister, said: “Skills shortages are holding our economy back. For all his warm words, the prime minister’s decision to scrap the dedicated skills minister shows he isn’t serious about reskilling our workforce for the future.”
This would be the second time that Boris Johnson has axed the skills minister role since becoming prime minister. Gavin Williamson, who was sacked as education secretary yesterday, took on responsibility for the brief when he was first appointed in July 2019.
But following a sector-wide backlash, Johnson appointed Keegan to the role in February 2020.
Donelan, the MP for Chippenham since 2015, was first appointed as universities minister in February 2020 and previously sat on the education select committee.
The DfE is yet to confirm which briefs ministers will be responsible for. The department and Downing Street have been approached for comment.