Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill

norwich121016bOn 1st February 2017, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Technical and Further Education Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd, Graham James welcomed its proposals.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I am glad to add my voice to the chorus of welcome for the Bill—on these Benches we are professionally interested in choruses.

Those who read the City & Guilds report Sense & Instability, which was published just over a couple of years ago, will remember the bleak picture painted there of three decades of skills and employment policy. The authors pointed out—with a degree of sardonic humour, I think—that, in 30 years, there have been 13 major Acts of Parliament dealing with these issues, enough reports to fill a medium-sized bookcase, no fewer than 61 Ministers and 10 occasions when skills and employment have shifted between government departments. “Tinkering”, “amnesia” and “disruption” were among the milder terms employed in that very powerful report. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill”

Church Commissioner questions: same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships, ethical investment

On 5th May 2016 MPs asked questions in the House of Commons to Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, on behalf of the Church Commissioners. Questions were asked on same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships and ethical investment:
Spelman CCQs June 2015 4 Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships, ethical investment”

Bishop of Derby speaks on role of education and lifelong learning

On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Sharp of Guildford “that this House takes note of the role of adult education and lifelong learning and the need to develop the skills needed to strengthen the United Kingdom economy.” The Bishop of Dery, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.

Derby 191115cThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, for introducing the debate and from these Benches I want to pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. From our perspective she has continually shown a very special and thoughtful faith—faith in people, faith in politics and faith in goodness. That is the kind of model that we all need to aspire to, and the noble Baroness has certainly been a great inspiration to me and to many of my colleagues.

I want to look at skills and the strengthening of the UK economy. We have heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, and others about the skills shortage, which is much in evidence. There is a clear mismatch between the needs of business and learning provision. We have heard about the dramatic decline in the number of places for part-time study, and I think that a strong case can be made for earn-as-you-learn opportunities for people at every stage, especially as employment is now such a variable journey for so many people. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks on role of education and lifelong learning”

Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on reporting on apprenticeships

On 14th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its third day of Committee. 

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of amendments that would require the government to provide a more thorough reporting on the take-up of apprenticeships. The amendments were withdrawn after debate.


14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in the north-east I get to see apprentices in the car industry, the subsea industry, traditional industries such as stonemasonry, farming, and all kinds of sectors in schools. It is brilliant to be able to see them face to face, to meet them and talk to them. There are brilliant apprenticeships and we need to grow them. Therefore, the 3 million target is fantastic, but I have to say that where the Bill refers to,

“information about the progress made in the reporting period towards the apprenticeships target”,

which is simply the figure of 3 million, that does not give the information about the types of apprenticeship that there are. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on reporting on apprenticeships”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about effect of steel plant closures in north east on those in apprenticeships

On 20th October 2015 a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords on the steel industry. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked about the effect of closures and job losses on those young people who are in apprentice schemes.


Bp Durham June 2015 bThe Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in the north-east there is also particular concern around young people who are in apprenticeships at Redcar, Hartlepool and elsewhere, and their deep concern that after three or three and a half years they will now have to go back to the beginning. Can the Minister give us an assurance that some of the £80 million will go to assist them to complete their apprenticeships without having to return to the beginning? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about effect of steel plant closures in north east on those in apprenticeships”

Bishop of Derby speaks about the importance of apprenticeships and employer academies

On 15th October 2015 the House of Lords debated apprenticeships. The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke in the debate. His remarks and the minister’s response are below:

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Prosser, for introducing this debate so clearly and raising so many important issues. I also commend the Government’s aspiration for 3 million apprenticeships and for greater flexibility and a range of standards. I also endorse the point made by the noble Baroness about the reality of a skill shortage and the urgency of us tackling this agenda. I remind the House that apprenticeship comes from an understanding of learning and that it is not just about skills, but about skills learnt in the workplace—that is, in a real context. That, of course, shapes people to be citizens as well as workers. I hope that understanding of apprenticeship will remain at the centre of this initiative and not get pushed to one side by a more narrow focus on skills per se. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks about the importance of apprenticeships and employer academies”

Bishop of London speaks in support of apprenticeships measures in Enterprise Bill

On 12th October 2015 the Bishop of London, Rt Revd Richard Chartres, spoke in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Enterprise Bill, to highlight the importance of apprenticeships.

LondonThe Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, as has been said, the Bill is modest in ambition but still very useful, especially the proposals in Part 4 setting targets for apprenticeships and containing measures for protecting the brand.I was fascinated by the Minister’s throwaway suggestion that there ought to be some ceremonies to symbolise the successful conclusion of apprenticeships. Speaking as a representative of “Rituals ‘R’ Us”, I could certainly offer a consultancy. We might even have apprenticeships in the Diaghilev industry that I can see growing today.

I was recently at the topping-out ceremony for the new Bloomberg building in the City of London. It covers three acres and will contain the largest quantity of stone of any building in the City since the construction of St Paul’s, so I dread to think what has happened to Derbyshire as a consequence. Continue reading “Bishop of London speaks in support of apprenticeships measures in Enterprise Bill”