Nearly 25 years after launching his own business Hudson Contract, he remains passionate about apprenticeships having begun his own career as a young draughtsman before combining his career with a successful battle against Hodgkin lymphoma.
Unlike so many in the London Government, or wider Westminster ‘village’, he knows how to make things happen and warns that many firms are put off from hiring a new generation of apprentices because the current scheme appears to be managed by bureaucrats for the benefit of bureaucrats.
It should not be like this. If skills wasn’t the top policy priority before Covid, it is now as young people find themselves bereft of opportunities while advances in industry, and digital technology, require working-age individuals more mature in years to retrain.
But the urgency of this economic need comes after a decade of cuts to colleges – Robert Halfon, the Tory chair of Parliament’s Education Committee – is among those to fear that the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ is becoming an after-thought – and more firms embracing ‘home working’ and, therefore, less able to nurture apprentices.
As such, the onus shouldn’t be on Mr Jackson to go to Downing Street to make the case for reform – the Prime Minister and Chancellor should be visiting him to see how Hudson Contract’s example can be replicated on a far larger scale.
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