Government apprenticeship scheme requires improvement, says technology businessman

The Coalition Government has been told that apprenticeships need to be made more rigorous and supportive to young people.

Jobseekers should be given much better quality opportunities that are more work-based, according to recommendations made in an independent review by software and technology businessman Doug Richard.

He said the system of apprenticeships requires a series of changes to improve what is on offer to youths.

Ministers are said to have agreed that the level of quality must be raised.

Mr Richard said the official work training provided by the Government needs to be redefined and that individual occupations should have their own unique qualifications.

Any apprentice should also be given adequate maths and English training.

He recommended that a new apprenticeship programme which is entirely centred on work must be created by the Government, replacing level 2 schemes.

Ministers have said they will make an official response to Mr Richard's review in the new year.

Mr Richard, founder of School for Startups, said: "With the myriad of learning experiences which are currently labelled as apprenticeships, we risk losing sight of the core features of what makes apprenticeships work.

"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.

"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."

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said: "We must raise the bar on apprenticeships if we are to have a programme fit for the future. It is vital that the qualifications and assessment involved in every apprenticeship are rigorous, trusted and give employers confidence in the ability of their apprentices."

Copyright Press Association 2012