A social entrepreneur and jeweller Jason Holt will head-up an employer-led review examining what more can be done to help SMEs take on apprentices, skills minister John Hayes announced.
Holt will talk to a wide range of stakeholders about several issues, including improving the marketing of the apprenticeships programme to SMEs and how to cut red tape to further speed up and simplify the process of taking on and training apprentices.
As well as running a jewellery business in Hatton Garden, London, Holt also runs Holts Academy of Jewellery, a not-for-profit training academy.
Hayes said: “Holt’s experience, both as a business man and through running a training academy, gives him invaluable insight into the needs of both small businesses and apprentices.
“I want to ensure that small businesses can enjoy the multitude of benefits that apprentices can offer a company. This review will play a vital role in achieving that aim.”
Holt, who will present his report to Ministers in May this year, commented: “It is vital that we make the apprenticeship route as accessible as possible for SMEs. As the owner of several such companies, including an Academy, I hope that I can use my experience to add value and make a positive and practical contribution to something so fundamental in the growth of business.”
The review will build on the Government’s initiatives already underway to make the apprenticeships system more responsive to SME needs, which include allowing micro companies to add up to two broader business skills units to apprenticeships, simplifying guidance for SMEs and establishing a dedicated team at the National Apprenticeship Service and new employer incentive payments of £1,500 to support up to 40,000 additional places for young people (16-24).