The review will be led by serial entrepreneur Doug Richard, a former panellist on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den. He is expected to report back by the autumn.
Under the terms of reference, the key questions to be considered include:
- What should the core components of an apprenticeship be?
- Who should apprenticeships be for – which types of learners and employers can benefit most from apprenticeships?
- Are there elements of apprenticeships that should be simplified or stripped back?
- Are the qualifications sufficiently rigorous, and recognised and valued by employers?
- Can value for money be improved?
Mr Richard was selected by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Department for Education because of his reputation in both business and business education. Through his social enterprise, School for Startups, Mr Richard provides instruction to new business owners. In 2008 he published the Richard Report into the government’s support of small businesses.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “To build a prosperous economy we need a skilled workforce. The apprenticeship programme has been a real success, not only boosting chances for young people, but also helping businesses to address their skills gaps.
"However, in the past vocational youngsters have been let down by weak courses and our competitors have stolen a march. I have just come back from a fact finding mission to Germany where two-thirds of young people take some form of apprenticeship by the time they are 25.
"To keep pace it is vital that we build on our initial success and continue to look at how apprenticeships can adapt to meet our future needs in the fast-evolving global economy.
“The Richard Review will do just that, establishing the core principles that will keep apprenticeships relevant to the future needs of individuals, employers and the wider economy. Doug Richard’s experience as a business mentor and setting up his School for Startups make him the perfect candidate to complete this task.”
Education secretary Michael Gove said: "Doug Richard is a proper entrepreneur not a corporate bureaucrat. That's why he's the right man to get apprenticeships right. It's great that the numbers taking up apprenticeships has grown. But there are still serious issues - there is still too much bureaucracy getting in the way of small firms taking people on, too much money appears to be going to middle men and the quality of some vocational qualifications taken by apprentices is still not good enough. Doug will help us get that right."
Last year there were more than 457,000 apprenticeship starts.