Employers to be given more control over apprenticeships following Doug Richard review

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has urged employers to design bespoke apprenticeship standards and qualifications as part of the latest government drive.

The government has responded to a review carried out by former Dragons’ Den investor Doug Richard on apprenticeships.

David Cameron’s coalition now plans to ‘redefine’ apprenticeships to promote their usage in the UK and make them more successful.

As part of its plans, the government will be raising standards and allowing employers to have more of a say in how apprenticeships are constructed.

Speaking when the results of his study in apprenticeships was published in November 2012, Richard said, ‘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.’

He wanted recognised industry standards forming the basis of every apprenticeship and apprentices reaching a ‘good level’ in English and maths before they can complete their training.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, speaking at entertainment lighting business White Light as part of the apprenticeships announcement, said, ‘Most employers say that apprentices improve productivity.

‘So it’s vital that apprenticeships are tailored around what employers want, allowing them to design their own qualifications and choose their own training provider, rather than getting a one-size-fits-all programme that’s bad for apprentices and bad for employers.’

More on apprenticeships:

Clegg has called on employers to put ‘meaningful’ standards at the heart of every apprenticeship. Every apprentice, Clegg would like, should be targeted at a skilled job, involving new learning.

Further government changes include apprentices being focused on the outcome come the end of programmes and moving towards a final holistic test which will have the full confidence of employers.

Despite the changes announced there are reservations from some in the industry. Sarah Clover, communications director at notgoingtouni.co.uk, comments, ‘It’s all well and good that these new plans will give employers more power, but unless school and college leavers are aware that vocational training and apprenticeships are a route they can go down, employers might be missing out on strong candidates.  

‘Too many young people are pressured into thinking university is the be all and end all. It’s fantastic that the government’s response to the Richard Review has addressed the need for apprenticeships to be more structured with higher levels of qualifications, but unless more young people are informed about apprenticeships in the first place, things aren’t going to move along a great deal.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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