The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) held a very special event in the House of Lords to introduce our high-profile chair to political, business and FE sector leaders.

Baroness Ruby McGregor Smith, who is also president of the British Chambers of Commerce, made her name in business as the first Asian woman chief executive of a FTSE 250 company, Mitie Group, which is the largest facilities management organisation in the UK.

The event provided her with the opportunity to talk about the Institute’s skills vision set out in our ‘Employer Centred – Future Facing’ strategic plan. Ruby also stressed the importance of creating levelling up opportunities across the country and employers supporting more younger people into apprenticeships and technical education.

She said: “It’s wonderful to be able to actually meet and speak to you all in person. Apprenticeships, T Levels, and wider technical education will be so important to helping everyone feel the benefits of the national recovery. A big priority for me looking ahead will be supporting young people into rewarding jobs. Then once they’re on that careers ladder, I want to help them make the absolute most of their talents. I’ve loved my career and if I can be a role model to people from all backgrounds to train and progress than that makes me proud.”

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Burghart also spoke at the event in the Cholmondeley Room, overlooking the Thames. He celebrated the Institute’s success, since launching in 2017, with supporting thousands of employers to shape apprenticeships, T Levels, and Higher Technical Qualifications to meet industry skills needs.

He said: “I welcome the work of the Institute to empower employers to develop world class apprenticeships and technical education. It is playing a leading role with ensuring coherence and quality. Our reformed technical education system will deliver brilliant skills for business and learners, and help boost economic growth.”

The Institute’s chief executive Jennifer Coupland spoke about our three core strategic commitments for delivering on the Skills for Jobs white paper and Skills and Post 16 Education Bill, progressing through parliament, which will expand our authority across most technical education. These are focused on delivering for employers, including smaller employers who we will encourage to engage more with shaping skills training, building a more integrated system, where virtually all technical qualifications will follow the same easy to understand and employer-led framework we have already developed for apprenticeships, T Levels and Higher Technical Qualifications, and commitment to continuous improvement.

Jennifer said:It has been fantastic to take the chance to celebrate everything that’s great about apprenticeships and technical education and explain more about the Institute’s plans to make it even better. We are always looking at how we can improve how the employer-led skills system works for the benefit of everyone and welcome your ideas.”

Around 150 senior figures from across business, the FE sector, media, and parliament attended the event, including MPs and peers from the Education Select Committee and All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships.

There were also presentations from Fareham College T Level students and apprentices with the Ministry of Defence, internet networking company Cisco, Manchester University, filmmaking and arts specialists Resource Productions, ReSource Pro, and Fleurie Nursery.

Jennifer invited guests to fill out pledge cards on the day with ideas and commitments for improving how apprenticeships and technical qualifications work for employers and all learners. Further pledges can be emailed to

ruby speaking at house of lords

wide shot of the roomapprentice panel members with ruby and jennifer

attendees making pledgesEd Millaband with route panel member

Minister berghart speaking

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