Jason Holt ‘disappointed’ by official snub

Entrepreneur Jason Holt has told of his disappointment that the government has not taken heed of his recommendations that schools promote apprenticeships.

In a comment piece published today in FE Week, Mr Holt said he was worried the government’s response to his review of apprenticeships would not lead to the changes “desperately needed” in schools.

“I am disappointed that the government has not taken more notice of my proposal that enlightened head teachers disseminate best practice to others,” said the jeweller in a piece written exclusively for FE Week.

“Many more schools should join forces with employers to showcase the successes of those who choose the apprenticeships.

“The government has accepted that more needs to be done to ensure that young people and their parents have access to quality information about the options available post-16.

“But it believes that it should be up to schools themselves – with partners such as local employers – to decide how best to address this challenge.

“Their decision to hand the baton to already hard-pressed and financially constrained schools will result in little actually happening.”

Jason Holt is understandably sore at the way [BIS] dismissed his totally correct recommendation, but he shouldn’t be surprised”

A spokesperson from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “We agree schools have an important role to play in promoting apprenticeships, and that is why they are now legally required to provide every pupil with information on apprenticeships.

“We have also established the National Careers Service as an authoritative source of advice on learning and work.

“But rather than directing schools from the centre, for this initiative to work in practice it must be led by the people and organisations it affects.

“The British Chamber of Commerce is just one organisation that has already agreed to encourage its members to engage more with their local schools on apprenticeships.

“Encouraging employers and their apprentices to go into schools to talk to their pupils is an important way of raising the profile of apprenticeships as a viable option.”

Shadow FE minster Gordon Marsden said Mr Holt had “every right to be disgruntled”.

He said that despite the review having some “very practical” proposals about improving information, advice and guidance, the government has “basically shrugged their shoulders and said it’s up to other people to do something about it”.

Peter Cobrin, director of Apprenticeships England, was also supportive of Mr Holt.

“Jason Holt is understandably sore at the way [BIS] dismissed his totally correct recommendation, but he shouldn’t be surprised,” he said.

“We know the reality of what’s happening with careers guidance as do those young people in schools where the door is slammed in the face of those seeking to advocate apprenticeships. Jason is not a lone voice.”