Employers are set to figure at the heart of a much-awaited review of apprenticeships, FE Week can exclusively reveal.
Former Dragons’ Den star Doug Richard (pictured right), whose independent review is expected to be published by the end of the month, said he wanted to see “much more employer involvement” on apprenticeships.
“I’ve been doing everything I can, using as many different devices and activities to encourage, incentivise, drive and hope for, much more employer involvement because apprenticeships more than anything else are partly a job, which by definition means you need an employer in the mix,” he told FE Week at the launch of the Entrepreneurs and Education Programme at Lewisham College incorporating Southwark College on Monday, November 12.
“This is what’s unique about apprenticeships, therefore employer involvement on many levels is simply more important than in other things we do. I’ve put a lot of effort into increasing the type, the calibre and the depth of employer involvement and that’s a clear message of the review.”
Mr Richard was joined at Lewisham College’s Waterloo Campus for the programme launch by Michael Fallon MP, Minister for Business and Enterprise.
The Entrepreneurs and Education Programme is being funded by £1.1m of cash from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills over three years to provide support and advice to students, teachers and researchers across 100 colleges and universities.
Mr Fallon said: “Entrepreneurship is coming back into colleges. We’ve had enterprise societies across universities colleges and the further education sector. It can be taught by example. By getting entrepreneurs to come in to colleges, getting businesses into colleges and businesspeople to talk about how rewarding it can be to set up a business and start employing other people.”
The programme, supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, aims to create a new generation of educational entrepreneurs by equipping colleges and universities across the country with the tools to survive a competitive marketplace.
There were seminars throughout the day, from 9am, with students and staff listening to Mr Richard’s views and advice on business.
“Entrepreneurship can be taught,” he said. “And it’s not so much that’s it’s lacking in FE, it’s just that we don’t have the structures and the systems to promote it to flourish to the degree we want.
“This is broadly in the context of FE colleges, specifically in the context of vocational education and very much in the case of apprenticeships, which I intend to change.”
Read FE Week online for more from Mr Richard.