Less than a month since the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) released its study on the government’s apprenticeships programme, Doug Richard has issued his own official response.
England-based Californian entrepreneur Richard, who has previously starred as a panelist on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, has called on the government to improve the quality of apprenticeships and make them more focused on the needs of employers.
Richard says, ‘Apprenticeships need to be high quality training with serious kudos and tangible value both to the apprentice and the employer.
‘I want to hear about an 18 year-old who looked at their options and turned down a place at Oxbridge to take up an apprenticeship if that is the right path for them.’
Amongst his recommendations levelled at David Cameron’s coalition government in The Richard Review of Apprenticeships is a need to refine apprenticeships, making them targeted only at those who are new to a job or role that requires sustained and substantial training.
He also says that recognised industry standards should form the basis of every apprenticeship and apprentices should reach a ‘good level’ in English and maths before they can complete their training.
‘No matter who I speak with, everyone agrees that apprenticeships are a good thing – buy only when they are “true apprenticeships”,’ he adds.
‘With the myriad of learning experiences which are currently labelled as apprenticeships, we risk losing sight of the core features of what makes apprenticeships so my conclusion is that we need to look again at what it means to be an apprentice and what it means to offer an apprenticeship as an employer.’
Richard would also like the government to examine what the apprentice can do when they complete their training, ‘freeing up the process’ by which they get there.
Government funding, he advises, must create the right incentives for apprenticeships training with the purchasing power for investing in apprenticeship training lying with the employer.
Cable adds, ‘His recommendations will help us to build on the current successes of our apprenticeships programme and tailor a programme which is sustainable, high-quality and meets the changing needs of our economy in the decades to come.’