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November 30, 2012

Doug Richard sets out vision for “true” apprenticeships

Doug Richard, entrepreneur and founder of School for Startups, has set out his vision for the future of apprenticeships in an independent review. Richard calls on the Government to improve their quality and make them more focused on the needs of apprentices and employers.

Key recommendations include:

  • apprenticeships should be targeted only at those who are new to a job or at roles that require sustained and substantial training
  • there should be greater focus on the outcome of an apprenticeship
  • recognised industry standards should form the basis of every apprenticeship
  • all apprentices should reach a good level in English and maths
  • government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training.

Doug Richard said: “No matter who I speak with, everyone agrees that apprenticeships are a good thing — but only when they are “true” apprenticeships. 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. And I want to hear that their parents were thrilled. We need to make sure that apprenticeships are the success story they deserve to be.”

The recommendations have been widely supported. Education secretary Michael Gove said: “I am pleased that Doug Richard's review is uncompromising in its focus on quality and standards. If we are serious about raising the status of apprenticeships we must reform the current system. I look forward to considering his proposals carefully.”

John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “We warmly welcome the Richard Review and the direction of the recommendations. In our recent report on apprenticeships, we called for many similar actions to be taken to improve the quality of apprenticeships.”

The Government will now consider Doug Richard’s recommendations and will issue a full response in the New Year.