Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting With Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert:

The Secretary met with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado today at the Presidential Palace in Panama City. The leaders reaffirmed the historical and longstanding U.S.-Panama partnership on bilateral and regional security and economic issues. Secretary Pompeo expressed appreciation for Panama’s leadership on important regional security matters including counter-narcotics, illegal immigration, and the Government of Panama’s vocal advocacy for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela and Nicaragua. Secretary Pompeo also stressed the importance of transparency and anti-corruption efforts in Panama.

PM Meeting With PM Lee Hsien Loong Of Singapore: 18 October 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May met PM Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

“The Prime Minister met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore ahead of the ASEM opening ceremony. Foreign Office Minister Mark Field also joined.

“The two leaders began by discussing the desire to deepen bilateral trade ties as well as potential UK involvement in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership – CPTPP.

“They discussed strengthening cooperation between the UK, Singapore and others in Asia to boost shared prosperity and security – including by deepening the UK’s relationship with ASEAN.

“The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s commitment to upholding the rules based international system, including maritime and regional security in South East Asia.”

Availability Of ESFA Services: 20 October To 22 October 2018

We are carrying out essential maintenance this weekend on ESFA services

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As a result of essential maintenance, the following ESFA services will be unavailable between 7am on Saturday 20 October and 8am on Monday 22 October 2018:

  • Data Collections Service (the Hub)
  • Manage your education and skills funding (previously called Skills funding service)
  • Learning Records Service
  • Apprenticeship Service
  • National Careers Service

Please do not attempt to use ESFA services during this period. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Aspire Achieve Advance 3aaa Apprenticeship Training Provider Termination Of Contracts

We have issued notices to terminate contracts with 3aaa

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Since the closure of 3aaa, we have established a taskforce to implement alternative arrangements for apprentices and their employers. We are working to ensure that every apprentice is transferred to another provider to complete their apprenticeship.


Employers who pay the levy can make their own arrangements to transfer their apprentices, using the Find Apprenticeship Training website to select another training provider.

If you are a levy employer and need help with this, please contact the National Apprenticeship Service by telephone on 0800 015 0600, or via email at

Training providers who attempt to recruit apprentices without the approval of the employer and ESFA may not be funded for this activity.


We have been grateful for the many offers of support from apprenticeship training providers who want to help those apprentices directly affected. In cases such as this, we have a managed approach to provider failure, which ensures that apprentices can continue their programmes with alternative providers who have both the capacity and capability to deliver high quality apprenticeship provision.

If you are approached by a levy paying employer to take on their apprentices affected by the closure of 3aaa, then you are free to enter into a contract with that employer and restart the apprentices programme. You do not need the permission of ESFA to do this.

If an employer asks you to take on their apprentices who are funded directly by ESFA, then you must contact us via email at and obtain our approval before re-starting the apprentices programme.

Where employers ask us to select an alternative provider, we use a range of qualitative information to identify those providers who are best placed to support the apprentice and employer. In such cases, we will contact you, obtain your agreement to work with the employer and you will provide us with assurances that you have the resources available to support apprentices to restart and successfully complete their programme.

Secretary Of State Celebrates Welsh Businesses As The “Great Engines Of Growth”

Alun Cairns hail achievements of Fast Growth 50 companies at milestone 20th anniversary awards ceremony

Fast Growth 50

Fast Growth 50

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will use a major awards ceremony tonight (19 October) to hail the nation’s business owners as “the great engines of growth for the future that we are building for Wales”.

Mr Cairns will address an audience of over 900 business leaders and entrepreneurs at the Wales Fast Growth 50 dinner at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The awards ceremony celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and recognises the achievements of the most dynamic companies in the country.

Since its inception, it is estimated that the businesses featured on the annual lists have created 40,000 jobs and generated an estimated £22 billion for the Welsh economy. Previous winners have included aircraft and spares services firm Aerfin from Caerphilly – also recognised in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list in 2017 – and Wrexham based Village Bakery.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns is expected to say:

Small businesses are the great engines of growth for the future that we are building for Wales.

Without you we wouldn’t have some of Britain’s biggest, best, most dynamic and most exciting companies proudly promoting the ‘Made in Wales’ stamp on their products and services all around the world.

Mr Cairns will tell the awards dinner that the UK Government is creating the right climate for businesses to grow through measures like the abolishing of the Severn tolls, the roll-out of high speed broadband and its ambition to deliver City and Growth Deals that cover every part of the country.

He will say:

There is no denying that combining dedicated, dynamic entrepreneurs with a pro-business, pro-growth government has really delivered results.

As we prepare to leave the EU, we must have the ambition to broaden our horizons, and take advantage of the opportunities that the new fast-growing markets around the globe present – and I want small businesses to lead the way in this.

So keep talking to us. Don’t stop telling us what more you think we can do to help your businesses succeed. Because that is what every single minister in the UK Government wants and is focussed upon.

You can read about the background to the Wales Fast Growth Awards by visiting Wales Online.

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