'Skilled workforce will be key in wake of Brexit', says new Education Secretary

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson talks to apprentices on a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield.
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson talks to apprentices on a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield.
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The Education Secretary has warned that apprenticeships and a highly-skilled workforce are going to be key to unlocking the country's economic future as it looms towards Brexit.

Following a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield yesterday, Gavin Williamson heralded Yorkshire as a "key player" in manufacturing, thanks to world-class businesses that are now based in the county, including Boeing, McLaren and Rolls Royce.

And he stressed that creating key roles in industries such as this are vital in "a fast-moving world".

Speaking exclusively to The Yorkshire Post, he said: "We should feel a real sense of Yorkshire pride that we are creating high calibre industrial jobs.

"As we exit the EU these are the types of jobs we should be creating and need to create in a fast-moving world."

Mr Williamson said he was confident that the UK would leave the European Union in October.

He said: "The Prime Minister made it clear that we are leaving on October 31 and that’s what we are going to do. He will work hard to make sure there is a deal."

The Education Secretary, who has almost completed his first month in the role following his appointment on July 24, said there had been a big increase in the number of apprenticeships, which is a trajectory he believes will continue due to an improvement in the quality of what is on offer.

He said: "What we have seen here, not just in Yorkshire but right across the country, is a big increase in the number of people taking apprenticeships.

"Now we are seeing people are getting the skills they really need to make sure businesses are able to compete.

"There is an important need for a highly-skilled workforce and that is what is being provided at the AMRC in Sheffield.

"Yorkshire is a key player in manufacturing. There are absolute world-class businesses based here. We are leading the world in terms of manufacturing from a different range of sectors.

"Manufacturing is absolutely at the centre of what we are doing in this country. The only way to continue to succeed is to continue to innovate."