In 2012 the government commissioned Doug Richards to conduct a full review of the current Apprenticeship programme, resulting in the publication of the ‘Richards Report’ with a number of recommendations.
In redefining Apprenticeships the Richards report recommendations include:
- They should be targeted only at those who are new to a job or role that requires sustained and substantial training
- Focusing on the outcome of an apprenticeship - what the apprentice can do when they complete their training - and freeing up the process by which they get there. Trusted, independent assessment is key
- Recognised industry standards should form the basis of every apprenticeship
- All apprentices should reach a good level in English and maths before they can complete their apprenticeship
- Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training. The purchasing power for investing in apprenticeship training should lie with the employer
- Greater diversity and innovation in training - with employers and government safeguarding quality.
Commenting on the launch of his report, Doug Richards said:
“No matter who I speak with, everyone agrees that apprenticeships are a good thing - but only when they are ‘true’ apprenticeships. 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. We need to make sure that apprenticeships are the success story they deserve to be.”
The government has welcomed the report. Business Secretary Vince Cable said:“Doug Richard’s review echoes the Government’s current thinking on putting employers in the driving seat of our apprenticeship programme. This will be vital to ensure the skills of our workforce fit with employer needs. His recommendations will help us to build on the current successes of our apprenticeships programme and tailor a programme which is sustainable, high-quality and meets the changing needs of our economy in the decades to come”.
The Government response was - The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan. Promising rigor and responsiveness, the key measures were to:
- Put employers in the driving seat
- Increase the quality of apprenticeships
- Give employers purchasing power