There's a palpable sense of confidence in the economy which was sadly absent during the downturn. From the housing market to manufacturing, indications are good. However, structural problems remain in the economy both domestically and internationally that threaten to undermine our long term prospects.
The fact that the most ambitious welfare reforms since 1945 are struggling to achieve their policy objectives should concern anyone who cares about building a better society. We need a more nuanced and supportive approach to reforming welfare - one which takes into account the variety of individuals circumstances and capabilities
This month, we hosted our national conference bringing together leaders in the creative industries, further education educators and employers under a common goal; to equip the next generation of creative pioneers with the skills and experience to ensure the industry worth £71.4 billion as a proportion of GDP, and the fastest growing in the UK, remains world class.
With National Apprenticeship Week in full swing last week, and since youth unemployment remains at 20%, it's more important than ever that we do everything we can to help young people into work. I'm an example of how an apprenticeship can give you a job for life after joining British Gas as an apprentice 34 years ago, back in 1980, and now I run our six training academies across the UK training the engineers of tomorrow.
Last month Scotland took a big step towards a shared ambition to make our country among the best in the world to grow up. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is a landmark piece of legislation to deliver greater support for children and families through a range of measures, including improvements to how we help our most vulnerable young people in care.