His appointment comes as business group the CBI urges the coalition to find a “radical new vision” for training school and college leavers, after six in 10 businesses it surveyed complained that youngsters are not ready for the world of work.
Richard, a Californian businessman who set up the School for Startups to train aspiring entrepreneurs, will look at how the government can best spend money on apprenticeships.
He is due to report his findings to the department of business, innovation and skills in the autumn.
The CBI said in its research, carried out with Pearson, that firms want the government to get rid of unnecessary red tape and make qualifications more relevant to businesses before they can offer more apprenticeships.
Around a third of the 542 firms surveyed said they were unhappy with school and college leavers’ levels of numeracy and literacy.
“The UK’s growth will depend on developing a wider and deeper pool of skills so that our economy can prosper in the face of fierce international competition for business,” said CBI head John Cridland.