The independent review, carried out by entrepreneur and former Dragon's Den star Doug Richard, concludes that the quality of apprenticeships does need to improve and that they should be more focused on the needs of employers. And it has, on the whole, been welcomed by leading hospitality bodies and industry figures.
The 10 recommendations:
- Apprenticeships should be redefined.
- The focus of apprenticeships should be on the outcome.
- The Government should set up a contest for the best qualification.
- The testing and validation process should be independent and genuinely respected by industry
- All apprentices should have achieved Level 2 in English and maths before they can complete their apprenticeship.
- The Government should encourage diversity and innovation in delivering apprenticeships.
- The Government has a role in promoting good quality delivery.
- Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training.
- Learners and employers need access to good quality information.
- Government must actively boost awareness of the new apprenticeship model.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, told BigHospitality: “The Richard Review is a very practical report. We are pleased to see that the Review recommendations have taken on board our expectation that employers need to stay at the heart of developing and delivering their own apprenticeship programmes.”
Meanwhile, People 1st, which worked with 50 hospitality employers to develop an initial submission for the review consultation,believes that many of the Richard Review’s recommendations do mirror the majority of points that were made.
“The review covers many of the points our industry employers made in the submission, including the importance of apprenticeships having a clearly defined identity and clear career pathways for staff,” said Ruth Asker-Browne, who led the employer consultation.
“We know from our submission that the review’s emphasis on pre-employment and pre-apprenticeship training will be highly valued by employers – employers both want and need such programmes to ensure they have work-ready staff.”
Ibrahim from the BHA believes that Point 4 of the Richard Review may not go down well with many hospitality businesses. “To be successful, hospitality apprenticeships need to be widely recognised as outstanding," she said. "However, we are concerned that an exam at the end of the apprenticeship may not be the best way of demonstrating quality. As an industry we must work together to promote the breadth of opportunities that a career in hospitality can bring.”
Asker-Browne of People 1st echoed Ibrahim's view, adding: "We would raise concerns about the strong emphasis on an exam or test as the final form of assessment at the end of the apprenticeship."
She noted that People 1st will await the government’s decision on how the other recommendations will be implemented.
“The recommendation that apprenticeships should only be offered for new job roles (Point 2) will no doubt cause some concern, although the interpretation and implementation of this will make a big difference.”
"And, while off-site learning is recognised as best practice, the practicalities can be more difficult (Point 5), especially for small employers who only have one apprentice."
The employer's view...
At yesterday's opening of Premier Inn's largest hotel,Whitbread's managing director Patrick Dempsey told BigHospitality: "When you run a business as big as Whitbread; when your sales line is growing, you can then start doing exactly what you want to do with regards to apprenticeship delivery.
"The youth unemployment at the moment really means something to me. If we can take some kids who are not used to going to work and we can give them a job through an apprenticeship program, then we will be doing something to try and tackle that unemployment. An apprenticeship shows young people that there’s a different way of life to staying at home, doing nothing, or getting in trouble. So the more Whitbread can do, the better.
"And, looking at the hospitality industry as a whole, The Big Conversation seems a good way forwardto ensuring more apprenticeships are offered. We’ve got four regional events taking place around the country; for contract catering, fast food and for London. If we can get 1500 senior managers to do something about apprenticeships; we could get the youth unemployment right down.
"Ultimately though, we should probably go into more schools and talk about careers. You don’t have to be the brightest person in the world to be in hospitality – you've just got to be quite friendly. But I can’t think of many trades that this industry doesn't include."
What do you think?
Are any potential changes that arise from these recommendations going to be a positive for the industry? Are apprenticeships the best way into work nowadays? Perhaps you run a hospitality business yourself and have your own thoughts about how apprenticeships should be delivered. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.