Unionlearn is committed to the vision of high quality apprenticeships as a training route for the skilled workforce of the future. There are a number of criteria which must be met in order to ensure that this vision is realised in a way that is beneficial to the apprentices, the employing businesses and the UK economy. We agree that an apprenticeship should:
1. Have a Contract of Employment
Apprentices are employees, and should have a contract of employment for at least the duration of the training period.
2. Be paid a fair rate
Apprentice rates should reflect the job done; if an apprentice does a full job they should be paid for it, or quickly progress incrementally to that point.
3. Include high quality training
Apprenticeship programmes must identify a clear programme of training, and apprentices be given sufficient time off the job such as in college, in dedicated training centres at the workplace, or in private study.
4. Have access to a trade union
As employees, apprentices are entitled to join a trade union, and the benefits of membership should be made clear to them during the induction process.
5. Contain High quality supervision and mentoring
There should be a clear system for supervision, support and mentoring, by appropriately trained work colleagues. Union learning representatives are ideally placed to act as mentors to apprentices.
6. Be accessible to all
A good apprenticeship programme should include strategies to ensure that Apprenticeships are accessible to the widest possible demographic and diverse spread of people.
7. Have a focus on Health and Safety
Health and safety is relevant to everyone in the workplace but young people are particularly vulnerable to accidents at work as they do not have as much experience or training as older workers.
8. Not be job substitution
Apprentices should not be recruited for job substitution, but to fill genuine skills shortages and plan for future skills gaps.