Tomorrow the further eduction sector will wake up to a new minister, as this evening the Prime Minister’s Office announced via twitter that John Hayes has been moved to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

FE Week got in touch with the shadow minister, and a number of FE sector leaders, and it seems the first emotion of many may prove to be shock, followed by disappointment.

Here is what they told us:

Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South and Shadow Minister for Further Education, Skills and Regional Growth said: “John Hayes being moved out of BIS is a significant loss both to the Government and the FE sector. His gusto, inimitable style and personal warmth came through in his shining commitment to his portfolio and his successor will find him a tough act to follow.”

Lynne Sedgmore, Executive Director of the 157 Group said: “I am very sorry to see John Hayes move out of skills, he has been one of our most committed, poetic and passionate ministers. Not only has he fought hard for FE, he has also sought to understand us and devoted himself to raising the esteem and status of FE with heartfelt commitment. I hope he is highly successful in his new role and can be as fully passionate, poetic even, about energy!”

He embraced us, set us challenges and encouraged us to innovate.”

Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “Though sad to lose such a passionate and effective advocate for Further Education and for Colleges, we wish Minister Hayes well in his new role in the Department of Energy and Climate Change”

Graham Hoyle, Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), said: “John’s strong championing of high quality apprenticeships as the flagship skills programme has served both the sector and the economy very well during challenging times.  The biggest tribute I can pay is that the economic pay-off from his legacy will still be felt in years to come, so you could never apply the epithet ‘here today, gone tomorrow politician’ to John Hayes.”

Matt Atkinson, Principal of Bath College, Trustee of Learning Skills Improvement Service and Chair of Association of Colleges Reputation Portfolio Group said: “John Hayes got what our sector is about and truly understood our contribution to economic recovery. He embraced us, set us challenges and encouraged us to innovate.”

He retained a strong commitment to an expansive view of learning which we need to hang onto”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE said: “We will miss John Hayes as the FE Minister; not only did he have a passion for the job, he also had a deep understanding which came from carefully listening and learning both as Shadow and then as Minister. He retained a strong commitment to an expansive view of learning which we need to hang onto as funding cuts bite further and was persuasive and significant in the spending review in protecting community learning, something else we will need to fight to hand onto. Over and above that I enjoyed working with him and will miss the entertaining meetings we had.”

Toni Fazaeli, Chief Executive of the Institute for Learning (IfL) said: “Having an unquestionable passion for the intrinsic value of learning seems central to the role of minister for FE and skills.  John Hayes understands the transformative power of all forms of further education and training, and has championed apprenticeships and community learning in particular. We pay particular tribute to Mr Hayes’ work in supporting IfL’s campaign to ensure that members with Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status are recognised as equal to those with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)  for teaching in schools settings as well as in further education.  This was an important step forward in raising the status of teachers and trainers in our sector.”

Tributes were also made on twitter, including:

Wes Streeting, former President of the National Union of Students, tweeted: “Really sad that John Hayes isn’t FE Minister anymore. Demonstrated passion and commitment beyond doubt. And a lovely man to work with too.”

Barry Sheerman, Labour Co-operative MP for Huddersfield  and former Chair of the Education Select Committee, tweeted about John Hayes: “Same old game, move a minister as soon as they’ve become useful”

Shane Chowen, former Vice President of FE at the NUS tweeted: “Truly gutted that we’ve lost John Hayes as FE Minister.”

Will Torrent, award winning Patissier and Chocolatier and UK ambassador to WorldSkills tweeted: “Such a massive supporter of WorldSkills UK and helped deliver WorldSkills London 2011 so brilliantly! Top bloke as well and loves  marzipan!”

Photo taken by Nick Linford for FE Week at the AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition 2011 in Birmingham

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  1. Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE
    Chair, National Careers Council

    “John Hayes is a remarkable man who is passionate about improving the life chances of others. He understood the importance of developing careers services as a driver of economic and social growth. Most importantly, he listened and respected the views of others. The Council wishes him well in his new role.”

  2. With 8 transport secretaries in 10 years and the average life of an education minister less than 2 years, it appears that the old adage “here today, gone tomorrow” still applies. Sadly, the thousands of NEETS show more persistence. John was a good man who actually cared.

  3. Disappointed that John Hayes has moved on and slightly unnerved that his replacement is another member of the Oxbridge clan that Dave seems to favour so much. As an economist,who worked alongside Dave and George in 2005, will replacement Matthew Hancock MP do as much for the sector as John Hayes did? I doubt it.

  4. Bob Hayes

    Can someone, anyone, tell me exactly what this apparently great man achieved as I’m not aware of anything? It seems the high and mighty value him, but at the chalk face we have worse conditions of service, decimated professionalism, student loans, etc, etc. what did he actually do that makes him such a great man?

  5. I’m afraid I rather agree with Bob Hayes – I thought John Hayes (however honourable his intentions were) didn’t really understand what makes good and effective vocational learning (I can’t speak for FE Colleges, not my area of expertise). His stretching out of Apprenticeships to a 12 and 18 month minimum “to improve quality” whilst at the same admitting that it wouldn’t necessarily achieve that objective was a classic example of fundamental ignorance of WBL.

    His replacement, I hope, has enough youthful energy and fire in his belly to take on the out of date, ineffective and inappropriate architecture and vested interests of the current Apprenticeship system and dismantle it.

    We also need alignment of resources and strategy between DofE and DBIS if ANY initiatives are going to work……. good luck with that!

  6. Terry Clarke

    Ditto for me I am afraid.

    All I ever heard John Hayes spout was a load of old romanticised rubbish. Florid language to disguise the fact that he actually had no idea whatsoever about FE and the way it works. It’s no surprise that his academic characterisation of adult learning through the language of Shakespeare and the bible appealed to our sector’s big-wigs, like the folk of the WEA, AoC, IfL, et al ….. they all are so far removed from the realities of adult learning and live in the ‘good old days’. Well they weren’t that good and they are long gone.

    What we had in Hayes was a man who was in love with his own historic take on learning and who wished to play to the masses by championing vocational learning. Sadly he could not master the vocabulary of the common engineer, chef or builder nor did he try to understand how training works in different industries. So all he ever really achieved was the patronisation of the teaching and training classes.

  7. Bob Hayes

    Of course employers love him. He has allowed them to cream off the funding for “apprenticeships” and now his ridiculous FE Guild is an attempt to strengthen employers’ grip on “the workforce”. Denied our professional rights, lecturers are being forced to work up chimneys just like children were in his romanticised vision of the guilds of yore.

  8. Neil Lees

    I’m afraid it is always the same when it comes to the ‘leaders’ in the FE sector …… each Minister is the greatest thing since sliced bread, all the time they need to play up to them for political purposes – and the gushing love for John Hayes here is just another example of that. FE is in a worse state now than when the coalition ‘came to power’ and Hayes’ great claim to fame seems to be: “didn’t I do well, look how much more worse it could have been”.

    His legacy? Some totally unneeded FE Guild, giving all the power to employers and placing lecturers fairly and squarely in the category of ‘staff’. So no longer professionals then? I’ve seen Hayes speak publicly on FE and it is spine-chillingly sickening to watch certain of the ‘great and good’ in the FE hierarchy fawn over the man, particularly when he is spouting some old nonsense from Plato or Mills. He has some nostalgic impression of further education as being for the working man, and we all know where he likes the working class to be.