Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College

Part of Petition - Public Confidence in the Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 4:05 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 4:05 pm, 30th April 2019

That is a perfectly reasonable request, and I would of course be delighted to meet my right hon. Friend and the Minister. I want to take this opportunity to underline the Department’s determination for the site to be utilised and not to become moribund. It is a great site, and it is in the wider interest that there is a smooth transition to its future use. We are determined that that will happen.

The scheme has made a valuable contribution to Defence’s need for STEM- qualified officers, but we need to increase numbers well beyond the current ability to deliver, as I have tried to explain. We also need to have greater flexibility about the sorts of graduates that we are now attracting into our 21st century armed forces. We need to be more responsive and agile, both to succeed in an increasingly competitive market for STEM graduates in the UK and globally, and to meet the challenges that we are now likely to face. However, I do not underestimate the impact of this decision on my right hon. Friend’s local communities, and, if I may, I shall end as I started, by paying tribute to her for raising this matter and, crucially, to the staff at Welbeck, who have done such a sterling job for so many years.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.