David Cameron’s new apprenticeship adviser Nadhim Zahawi tells how ‘entrepreneurial experience’ will help him fulfil duties

Stratford-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi (above left) today told how his “experience as an entrepreneur” would help him in his new role as Prime Minister David Cameron’s apprenticeships adviser.

The announcement came during today’s Prime Minister’s questions and will see the remit to help the government deliver its General Election pledge to create 3m new apprenticeships over the next five years pass to the Iraqi-born co-founder of YouGov internet-based market researchers.

And, just like his predecessor in the role Richard Harrington, who stepped down in September to become Syrian Refugees Minister, Conservative Mr Zahawi will be co-chair of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board along with National Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network (NAAN) chair David Meller.

“It’s a great honour to have been asked by the Prime Minister to be his new Apprenticeships Adviser,” said Mr Zahawi in his blog today and on his Twitter account (see below).

“I have already started my work, holding regular meetings with BIS, Number 10 and the Skills Funding Agency.

Zahawi job“I’m excited to be part of the government’s revolutionary work on apprenticeships, drawing on my previous experience as an entrepreneur to ensure that the new qualifications meet the needs of businesses and provide excellent life-long skills to those who take them.

“I’m determined for apprenticeships to be a real alternative to attending University, and to ensure that they’re a route to better paid, highly skilled jobs that really enhance productivity in our economy.”

According to TheyWorkForYou.com, Mr Zahawi has asked four questions featuring apprenticeships since he was first elected, in 2010.

However, the most recent of these was to then-Skills Minister Matthew Hancock in November 2012 when he asked: “Can he [Mr Hancock] say a little more about the drive for quality, as opposed just to quantity, of apprenticeships?”

He has already served on a number of committees, including Foreign Affairs, Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee) and Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and joined the Number 10 Policy Unit two years ago.

News of Mr Zahawi’s new post was also broken on Twitter via the Number 10 account (pictured below).PM Zahawi

“In this new role I will be working closely with Number 10, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Skills Funding Agency to ensure that the Government’s pledge for 3 million apprenticeship starts in this Parliament is met,” added Mr Zahawi.

“This is an exciting time for apprenticeships in the UK as the Government reforms the qualifications and introduces degree level and higher level apprenticeships, ahead of an expected increase in demand as the Apprenticeship Levy on large businesses is introduced in 2017.”

Main image: Mr Zahawi speaks to an apprentice during a visit to his local Stratford-upon-Avon College this year



Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. The more the Apprenticeship saga goes on the more it becomes apparent that the Government did not have a clue how to address the issue, let alone offer a figure of 3m – Let’s make it up as we go along and most of the public will not notice. A mess

  2. Once upon a time a new appointment and a bit of PR might have made us feel better. Now the only effect is to emphasize what Greg says, that the government does not have a clue to address the issue. But then neither did previous governments.

    I would suggest that the lessons learned by ‘an entrepreneur’ is to make your own organisation work and to overcome the barriers put in the way. Isn’t that your experience Mr Zahawi? So as always, the sector must look to itself to stay afloat and maybe succeed.

  3. Old newbie

    I’ll wager that before long as it starts to become apparent that the 3m is out of reach that either:
    1. traineeships will also get counted in the 3m (we didn’t say it wasn’t!)
    2. the level of incentives to employers will increase (to train their own staff!)
    3a. We made the funding available and were committed to delivering 3m apps, but the feckless youth failed to grasp the opportunity.
    3b. it’s someone elses fault, but we don’t want to offend big business. Move along please, nothing to see here.