Download the Government-lauded guide from Professional Jeweller.

A review of apprenticeships at SMEs led by Jason Holt of Holts Group has been published and is now available for free to all businesses.

The review, called Making Apprenticeships Work in SMEs, has been lauded by Government officials including Education Secretary Michael Grove.


In his review prominent jewellery industry figure Holt, who founded Holts Academy in reaction to what he called a “skills crisis”, describes apprenticeships as not only viable but a positive way to help businesses in the jewellery sector, as well as others, to grow.

Holt said: “It has been a fascinating journey, which has served to underline my view that apprenticeships are not only a viable and cost effective way for companies to build a future workforce, but that they also have a vital role to play in stimulating business growth.”

The best practice guide to apprenticeships created by Holt focuses on deciding whether an apprentice is right for your business, how to select the best candidate, how to build productive working relationships and how to ensure that any apprentices go on to have successful careers in the industry.

Holt said that there is still some resistance to apprenticeships and hopes that the review will help to dispel some of the myths surrounding the practice.

He said: “It is clear that there are many barriers – some real, some perceived – standing in the way of more SMEs going down this route [apprenticeships]. My conversations with companies show that many still have an outdated view of apprenticeships, often regarding them as relevant only for those involved in manual trades. They are unsure how best to go about finding suitable candidates, have an unfounded concern that they will have to wade their way through masses of red tape and are worried they will have to invest too much time in getting young people work ready.

“This is a real shame. Apprentices are a great source of creativity and fresh ideas. They are raw talent that can be moulded to fit the culture and ethos of a business. Perhaps best of all, much of their off-site training, for those who are eligible, is funded by the Government.”

The guide is available free of charge to all businesses and can be downloaded from the Professional Jeweller website now by clicking here.