John Hayes recently attended the annual AELP conference and spoke about apprenticeships and careers advice.
He explained that he had plotted the Conservative Party’s skills policy in opposition and was privileged to be delivering the programme in government.
His speech focused on apprenticeships and the challenges facing young people not in education, employment (NEETs).
"We all know how tough young people are finding life especially the half a million who can't find work.
"I focus strongly on high quality apprenticeships."
Mr Hayes added that the government work on apprenticeships thus far has been one of its flagship policies, especially within growth industry areas like space technology and advanced engineering.
"We are equipping people to play their part in the new economy. This is a fundamental shift in perception, in how people can do their best and be their best".
Hayes said he “understood the salience of good careers advice”, as a way of ensuring as many people are in work or training.
He also referred to the introduction of 'plotter' a social media interface which will be launched later this year by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This was something that John Hayes has been working on for some time with former government adviser Steve Hilton.
He concluded that his brief was central to the government's agenda and directly linked to the economy:
"Skills have never been higher on a government's agenda than it is with this one. This is about economic need of course but also social justice."
Questioned by AELP chief executive, Graham Hoyle on a discrepancy in VAT charged on further education loans if taken at an independent provider rather than a college, the minister said he would follow up on the matter with the Treasury.