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Government appoints small business owner to advise on apprenticeships

Mr Holt will talk to a wide range of stakeholders about a number of issues, including improving the marketing of the apprenticeships programme…

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Mr Holt will talk to a wide range of stakeholders about a number of 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, Mr Holt also runs Holts Academy of Jewellery - a not-for-profit training academy.

Mr Hayes said:

“I am delighted Mr Holt has agreed to lead this review. His 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 - 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.”

Mr Holt said:

“I am delighted to have been asked by Ministers to lead this Review. 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 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

  • Allowing micro companies to add up to two broader business skills units to apprenticeships (recognising the wider skills range that is often required in such companies)

  • Simplifying guidance for SMEs and establishing a dedicated team at the National Apprenticeship Service

  • 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

Mr Holt will present his report to Ministers in May this year.

Notes to editors

  1. Jason Holt is CEO of Holts Group of Companies. The group includes Holts Lapidary - a fine jewellery and gemstone manufacturer and retailer; Holts Academy, provider of apprenticeship and vocational training for the jewellery industry; Holition, a technology company providing Augmented Reality Marketing solutions to retail brands, and Jewellery Innovations, a social enterprise providing a platform for apprentices to work in UK manufacturing.

  2. This review follows on from the Education and Skills Growth Review last November, when the Government committed to inviting a leading SME employer to advise on what further measures can be taken to give SME employers more control in the system. The full review can be found at:

  3. The Education and Skills Growth Review also contained a commitment to conduct an employer-led review into the quality and standards of apprenticeships. This separate review will be launched shortly, and will identify best practice and help ensure that the Government continues to maximise the impact of public investment in apprenticeships.

  4. This year the Government is running the _Business in You _campaign to encourage more people to start or grow their business throughout 2012 using a range of existing support services. More information is available at

  5. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone




Name Katie Kilgallen Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone 020 7215 1861 Fax



Published 14 February 2012