Richard is strongly backing Weymouth College's bid for £20 million to establish a new, engineering department.
A strong advocate for apprenticeships, Richard originally teamed up with the College to create the first Apprenticeship Fair in 2014.
The one-day event, combining local businesses, students and an inspirational speaker, has now evolved into Apprenticeship Week and the College now attracts over 500 apprentices.
This year, after an early business breakfast and networking session with members of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce at the College, Richard spoke about increased government support for apprenticeships and encouraged businesses present to get involved.
“We’re not telling businesses what to do but we are helping them to do it,” he said. “There are massive opportunities ahead and our young people are essential to our success.”
At the apprentice awards following the breakfast, the keynote speaker was Tim Martin, Founder/Chairman of the Wetherspoons empire, who said that, after studying for a law degree, he effectively took a three year apprenticeship in pubs, “making all the mistakes going and plenty more.”
“If you’re good at the academic side, it’s great but it’s overemphasised in our society,” he added, telling students that his best advice was to “keep working.”
This year, Apprentice Week included a photographic competition, an apprenticeship video promotion for all Dorset schools and on Wednesday, an Apprenticeship Fair open evening, which hosted parents, students and potential employers, promoting apprenticeships, try-a-skill opportunities and business stands.