With the new Government now in place, most providers are turning their attention to the implications for the future employment and skills landscape. With public sector funding cuts now a certainty, and unemployment at its highest level in 15 years, it is easy to look back on the Labour years with some scepticism, but what is the true legacy that New Labour has left behind? Back in 1997 we still had the Department of Education and Employment, and the fusion of the Employment Service with the Benefits Agency to create Jobcentre Plus was still only an embryonic concept. Modern Apprenticeships were still in their infancy, administered through the old Training & Enterprise Councils. The idea of integrating employment and skills was yet to be conceived, the Adult Learning Inspectorate was yet to be created (let alone merged into Ofsted), learndirect was still waiting in the wings, and even the phrase “welfare to work” had yet to be coined. The provider landscape was different then too. A4e (or Action for Employment as it was still then known), Reed in Partnership, and Seetec were amongst the first to become New Deal providers, but all were much smaller and simpler businesses than we know them today. It would not be until the new Millennium that names such as Working Links and Work Directions would appear. As the market potential of the sector materialised, a series of mergers, acquisitions and management buy outs began. The sale of Spring Skills to Protocol in 2001 was one of the first major exchanges to make the headlines, and the ill-fated Carter & Carter Group notably snapped up around half a dozen providers in rapid succession. The third sector has had mixed fortunes under the Labour years, with providers like Shaw Trust and CDG managing to compete well against their private sector rivals, whilst the collapse of Instant Muscle showed just how perilous the industry could be. The UK has not been alone in its journey, and the past five years have seen a new globalisation with providers such as A4e and Reed now exporting UK expertise around the globe, and equally the recent arrival on our own shores of Maximus, FourstaR, Calder, Sarina Russo, and WISE Ability. The impact of big business is increasingly being felt, with Serco coming from nowhere to be amongst the biggest contractors of DWP programmes, and Babcock having taken over the VT Group, including VT Training, in a billion pound deal earlier this year. So, thirteen years since Tony Blair first arrived in Downing Street, we have experienced massive change and evolution in employment and skills, some of it good, some of it may be less so. The industry that David Cameron now inherits is more mature, experienced and financially savvy, with far greater expectation.