I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention, and she is absolutely right: everything this Government are doing—the apprenticeship levy, this Bill, FE and technical education reform, the drive up of standards, the encouragement of apprenticeships, the money we are putting in with £2.5 billion that will be doubled by 2020—is designed to solve the problems she has talked about.
The OECD has said about the skills plan that
“the UK has a promising plan to advance technical education from a last resort to a first choice.”
Colleges, too, have spoken highly of the plan, including the principal of my own Harlow College, who said:
“As colleges we are not just about courses, we are about careers—we therefore believe that any reform that brings us closer to employers means our students gain higher skills and better jobs.”
This Bill is a Ronseal Bill: it does what it says on the tin. It transforms the prestige and quality of apprenticeships and technical education in our country, addresses the skills deficit, protects students in the event that colleges face extreme financial difficulty, and ensures that the most disadvantaged are able to climb the ladder of opportunity. The Bill underlines the Prime Minister’s commitment to a country that works for everyone. I commend the Bill to the House.