Award-winning jeweller helps government plan youth employment drive.
Hatton Garden jeweller Jason Holt has been appointed by the government to head an employer-led review that will look for ways to boost the creation and take-up of apprenticeships among small businesses.
Holt, who was a member of the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 in 2010 and 2011 in recognition of his contribution to the jewellery industry, will work with other employers to identify ways toimprove the marketing of the apprenticeships programme, and how to cut red tape to further speed up and simplify the process of taking on and training apprentices.
Holt is also head of Holt’s Academy of Jewellery in London, a not-for-profit operation that trains young jewellery designers and manufacturers.
John Hayes, the government’s skills minister, welcomed the appointment. “I am delighted Mr Holt has agreed to lead this review. His experience, both as a businessman 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 – including improved productivity and the chance to build a better-skilled and dedicated workforce. This review will play a vital role in achieving that aim,” Hayes explained.
Jason Holt added: "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 aims to build on government initiatives already underway to make the apprenticeships system more responsive to SME needs.
These include reducing the time taken to advertise an apprenticeship vacancy to within one month of deciding to take on an apprentice; removing SFA health and safety requirements on providers that go beyond regulatory requirements; and new employer incentive payments of £1,500 to support up to 40,000 additional places for young people (16-24), where these are new jobs with smaller employers.
Holt will present his report to ministers in May this year.