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Government launches review into future of apprenticeships

Entrepreneur and founder of School for Startups, Doug Richard, has been asked to lead an independent review into the future of apprenticeships for the Government.

The Richard Review of Apprenticeships will look at how to build upon the record success of recent years by ensuring apprenticeships meet the needs of the changing economy, ensuring every apprenticeship delivers high quality training and the qualifications and skills that employers need and maximising the impact of Government investment.

The review is also set to examine how apprenticeships can best meet the needs of employers, individuals, and the wider economy; which learners and employers can and should benefit most from apprenticeships; and what the core components of a high quality apprenticeship should be.

Richard was selected by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education for his reputation in the spheres of both business and business education, enabling him to provide an independent analysis of the future priorities of the Government's scheme. A figure in the UK and global business communities, with over 20 years' experience in the development and leadership of start-ups and established businesses, it is hoped Richard will bring unrivalled commercial insight to the study.

Richard has delivered practical and theoretical instruction to more than 10,000 business owners and in 2009 he received the Enterprise Educator of the Year award for the excellence of his teaching. The announcement marks the continuation of. Richard's involvement in enterprise policy. He previously published the Richard Report in 2008, his investigation into the British government's support of small businesses. Earlier this year he partnered with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to stage his 'Web Fuelled Business' initiative - a nationwide series of bootcamps helping small businesses exploit and leverage the internet. Business secretary Vince Cable said: "To build a prosperous economy we need a skilled workforce. The apprenticeship programme has been a real success, not only boosting chances for young people, but also helping businesses to address their skills gaps. "However in the past vocational youngsters have been let down by weak courses and our competitors have stolen a march. I have just come back from a fact finding mission to Germany where two-thirds of young people take some form of apprenticeship by the time they are 25. "To keep pace it is vital that we build on our initial success and continue to look at how apprenticeships can adapt to meet our future needs in the fast-evolving global economy. "The Richard Review will do just that, establishing the core principles that will keep apprenticeships relevant to the future needs of individuals, employers and the wider economy. Doug Richard's experience as a business mentor and setting up his School for Startups make him the perfect candidate to complete this task." Secretary of state for education Michael Gove said: "Doug Richard is a proper entrepreneur not a corporate bureaucrat. That's why he's the right man to get apprenticeships right. It's great that the numbers taking up apprenticeships has grown. But there are still serious issues - there is still too much bureaucracy getting in the way of small firms taking people on, too much money appears to be going to middle men and the quality of some vocational qualifications taken by apprentices is still not good enough. Doug will help us get that right."

Richard added: "I am delighted to have been given this commission to lead the review into the future of apprenticeships. In today's challenging climate, apprenticeships will and must play a vital role in equipping our young people with the skills they need to succeed. "As an entrepreneur, but also as an educator, I am convinced of the importance of business education in helping not only individuals but society at large. For our economy to recover and flourish, we need a workforce that possesses the requisite skills of twenty-first century commerce and industry. A strong apprenticeship programme is essential in delivering that." Skills minister John Hayes said: "The Government has built the biggest and best apprenticeships programme of modern times. Last year there were over 457,000 apprenticeship starts and we have set out rigorous new standards to guarantee all apprenticeships are of the highest quality. Apprenticeships have never before been given the status or significance that I, as the Minister responsible, has afforded them. "However, if we are to ensure that apprenticeships continue to meet the skills needs of our constantly evolving economy then we must take every opportunity to re-examine the why, what and how of apprenticeships, to ensure they are equipping learners and employers for the future."