Apprenticeships: Call For 'High Quality' Schemes
Urgent reform of the Government's apprenticeship programme is needed for it to succeed, according to a new report.
Its author, entrepreneur and former Dragons' Den star Doug Richard, said the quality of apprenticeships needed improving to deliver the skills and qualifications of "tangible value" to workers and employers.
He recommended the introduction of a new work-based programme to support entry into employment, to replace Level 2 apprenticeships.
Mr Richard also suggested apprenticeships should be redefined, with one qualification for each occupation, while everyone on a programme should reach a good level in English and Maths.
The 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.
"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."
Education Secretary Michael Gove 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."
Steve Radley, director of policy at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said: "The challenges we face in the coming decades are enormous and only a revolution in ambitions and approach to apprenticeships will ensure that we meet them."
The Richard Review - an independent review into the future of apprenticeships - was launched last June.
Ministers said they will respond to the recommendations in the New Year.