Doug Richard to lead government apprenticeships review

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11 June 2012 00:01

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Entrepreneur and founder of School for Startups, Doug Richard, is 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 that apprenticeships meet the needs of the changing economy
  • Ensuring every apprenticeship delivers high quality training and the qualifications and skills that employers need
  • Maximising the impact of Government investment.

Looking to the future, the review will examine how apprenticeships can continue to 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.

Mr Richard was selected by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education for his strong 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 senior figure in the UK and global business communities, with over 20 years’ experience in the development and leadership of start-ups and established businesses, Mr. Richard will bring unrivalled commercial insight to the study.

His commercial expertise is matched by hands-on experience in the teaching of business skills. Through his social enterprise, School for Startups, Mr. 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.

Today’s announcement marks the continuation of Mr. 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.”

Mr Richard said:

“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.

“I’m delighted that Doug Richard will be leading this review. His personal commitment and track record in training, developing and inspiring people speaks for itself, and as an entrepreneur and educator who has helped thousands of fledgling businesses get off the ground, his insight and expertise will be invaluable.”

Notes to editors



1. The Government wishes to commission an independent review of apprenticeships in England, to ensure that in the future the programme is meeting the needs of the changing economy, consistently delivers high quality training and the professionally recognised qualifications and skills which employers and learners need, and is maximising the impact of government investment.


2. To be led by a senior, independent business figure, the review should take critical look at apprenticeships and look to identify a set of principles and priorities for the optimal content of future apprenticeships, to ensure that every apprenticeship delivers new high quality training and professionally recognised qualifications.

3. The review should identify the best of current practice and recommend ways to extend this.

4. Key questions to be considered include:

· What should the core components of an apprenticeship be – to meet the needs of employers (large and small), individuals, and the wider economy?

· Who should apprenticeships be for – which types of learners and employers can benefit most from apprenticeships?

· Are there elements of apprenticeships which should be simplified or stripped back?

· Are the qualifications which are undertaken as part of an apprenticeship sufficiently rigorous, and recognised and valued by employers?

· How should delivery arrangements adequately ensure all that apprenticeships provide significant new learning and acquisition of new skills, rather than the accreditation of existing ones?

· Are there opportunities to improve the impact and value for money of public investment in apprenticeships?


5. The review should report in Autumn 2012.

6. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Paul Champion

📱: 07540 704920

Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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