David Way is interviewed by Chris Henwood in the mobile newsroom on the top floor of the Hyatt Birmingham

Employers should be given greater ownership of the apprenticeship system, according to National Apprenticeship Service chief executive David Way.

He spoke to FE Week at the Association of Colleges conference, in Birmingham, where he offered a cautious prediction of the forthcoming Richard Review.

“I have some ideas about what I’d like to see in the review, but it’s important not to just take it in isolation,” said Mr Way.

“It’s possible to discern the main trends likely to be coming out of all these reviews, and one of these is a sense of questioning how we can ensure employers have greater ownership of the system.”

The Richard Review was launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills just before the summer.

It was tasked with taking a medium to long-term look at the future of apprenticeships in England, identifying best practice and ensuring future apprenticeships meet the needs of the changing economy, and ensuring apprenticeships deliver the qualifications and skills employers need to reach world class benchmarks.

Its author, entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den star, Doug Richard said he expected it to be published by the end of the month.

“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,” he exclusively told FE Week this month.

It follows reviews into the same subject by the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and jeweller Jason Holt.

He spoke to FE Week at the Skills Show this month, where he said: “I have spoken and Doug Richard had read my review – he was even testing me on it.

“I think, or hope, he may have looked at it and Professor Alison Wolf’s and looked to build on them.”

Mr Holt also said he was on a panel that was looking to put in place the careers guidance boost recommendations of his own review.

“I’m on the Holt Review implementation team that meets every quarter,” he said.

“We’ve already met once and we’re there to hold the government’s toes to the fire in terms of getting the things done that it said it would.

“I really push the review on that team otherwise what’s the point.

He added: “It’s really refreshing for the government to have set up this team to make sure my review doesn’t fall by the wayside. That, at least, should be celebrated.

“I was disappointed around the schools agenda and their promotion of apprenticeships.

“I wanted to see inspired head teachers who look beyond funding agendas applauded.

The other point was about connections between business and schools and their local communities.

“In Switzerland they give schoolchildren weekly advice and information on careers from the age of 11 to 16. They hear from all trades — banking, engineering and so on.

“They end up with a real sense of the world of work. It just makes you question whether we are doing enough.”

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