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Let's make apprenticeships a 'real alternative' to university, says new government adviser

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Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed as prime minister David Cameron’s adviser on apprentices, replacing Richard Harrington, the government has confirmed.

Mr Zahawi, the Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, will also serve as joint chairman of the apprenticeship delivery board, which has been tasked with helping to deliver the government's target of creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

Mr Zahawi has already held several positions in government since his election to Parliament in 2010. He was appointed to the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in 2010, to the Number 10 policy unit in 2013 and to the Foreign Affairs Committee in 2014.

Earlier today, a tweet on behalf of Mr Cameron said that Mr Zahawi was "going to help me make sure businesses deliver on the apprenticeship agenda".

PM: Nadhim Zahawi is going to help me make sure businesses deliver on the apprenticeship agenda #PMQs https://t.co/ZZhQzGRBGr @bisgovuk

— No. 10 Press Office (@Number10press) November 4, 2015

Mr Zahawi is a businessman, entrepreneur and author. In 2000 he co-founded internet-based marketing and polling firm YouGov.

In a blog post published today, he writes: "This is an exciting time for apprenticeships in the UK as the government reforms the qualifications and introduces degree level and higher level apprenticeships, ahead of an expected increase in demand as the apprenticeship levy on large businesses is introduced in 2017."

Mr Zahawi describes his new role as a "great honour", and adds: "I’m excited to be part of the government’s revolutionary work on apprenticeships, drawing on my previous experience as an entrepreneur to ensure that the new qualifications meet the needs of businesses and provide excellent life-long skills to those who take them.

"I’m determined for apprenticeships to be a real alternative to attending university, and to ensure that they are a route to better paid, highly skilled jobs that really enhance productivity in our economy."

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