Entrepreneur and Dragons' Den investor to lead apprenticeships review

Joe Lepper
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Former Dragons' Den investor Doug Richard has been chosen by the government to lead an independent review into the future of apprenticeships.

Richard’s brief is to assess whether apprenticeships are reacting to changing economic circumstances and if qualifications properly equip apprentices for work.

He will also look to ensure government money is being effectively invested in apprenticeship schemes.

A factor in the appointment of Richard, who was one of the original “dragons” in the BBC series, has been his work with social enterprise School for Startups, which offers guidance and training to businesses.

He also advised the previous Labour government on small business policy.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “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.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove said Richard will also look at ways of cutting red tape for firms wanting to take on apprentices.

Improving apprenticeship opportunities has been a cornerstone of the government’s £1bn Youth Contract, which was launched in April and aims to support 18-to 24-year-olds into work.

According to the government there were 457,000 apprentices starting a placement during 2011.?Richard is expected to report his findings to the government in the autumn.

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