There is no need to ask Jason his greatest achievement over the past 12 months because when you receive a CBE from the Prince of Wales surrounded by the grandeur of Buckingham Palace, that is sure to go down as one of the proudest moments of someone’s life, let alone year.
“To be invested with an honours was an event I could never have imagined,” Jason smiles. “I was terrified. Would I forget to bow or be able to walk backwards without tripping? To be with my wife and daughters and for them to see their husband/ daddy receive a CBE was beyond comprehension and something I will take to my grave as the proudest day of my life.”
The Prince of Wales encouraged Jason to use his honour as a springboard to continue supporting the apprenticeship movement, and Jason certainly has.
In March 2015 Jason announced the introduction of Apprenticemakers — a networking tool developed to help apprentice employers across the country make connections with those who are in the process of recruiting apprentices, perhaps for the first time.
Jason continues to be inspired by the team of apprentices he has hired over the years, noting: “We remain in debt to them. They have built Holts Group to what it is today.”
In addition to his work in Government as chair of the Apprenticeship Board, Jason has also launched a new division to Holts Academy – Tech Up Nation – in partnership with Optimity, a tech employer, the Mayor’s Fund and Government. “This has taken two years to put together,” explains Jason. “It is the culmination of all our work in education, jewellery and technology rolled into one.”
This new division aims to help young people find apprenticeships in technology businesses across London. For the jewellery industry it means every business has a chance to shift to digital. Jason adds: “The mission of Holts Academy is to support the economic growth of the jewellery community. We can only do this is we look at the future — the digital revolution is here and we are trying to embrace it.”
When Jason is not driving innovative ideas he loves to spend time with his daughters and wife — often going on bike rides or playing badminton.