UNISON and Darlington Council sign new apprenticeship agreement

Northern UNISON recently signed a Local Apprenticeship Agreement with Darlington Borough Council. This recognises the high-quality apprenticeship scheme implemented by the council.

UNISON sign apprentice agreement
Councillor Stephen Harker, Leader of Darlington Borough Council and Duncan Rothwell, UNISON Regional Organiser

With the squeeze on access to education and the scarcity of secure employment, working people have found it much harder to find decent, well-paid jobs with a guarantee of ongoing training and career development.

UNISON has, therefore, been delighted to sign a Local Apprenticeship Agreement with Darlington Borough Council which recognises the high-quality apprenticeship scheme implemented by the council.

UNISON Regional Secretary, Clare Williams congratulated Councillor Stephen Harker on establishing apprenticeships which would bring new jobs, creating life-long careers benefitting the local community and strengthening the local economy.

UNISON have said they will use the agreement to actively engaging with the apprentices, and will be running a work skills workshop as part of the apprenticeship programme. This will focus on knowing your rights and responsibilities at work and also understanding your payslip.

The union has also said that they will also be there to support apprentices with any issues or questions they may have which they do not, initially, feel comfortable raising with their employer.

The agreement comes at an important time at the council, with over a hundred apprenticeships are in place and more coming on line as apprenticeship specifications are developed in new areas.

These are not just 'traditionally' apprenticeships for teenagers but also opportunities for older staff to re-skill and develop their careers. A wide range of apprenticeships are in place covering areas such as customer service, skilled trades, finance, HR and legal services are all opportunities available to aspiring apprentices in Darlington

Clare Williams said,

UNISON congratulates the council on its high-quality apprenticeships and is pleased to sign the Local Apprenticeship Agreement in recognition of the council’s scheme which guarantees apprentices high quality training. In addition, the apprenticeship scheme allows for the upskilling of existing employees, opening new career paths and building resilience in the workforce”

Duncan Rothwell, UNISON Regional Organiser said,

The apprenticeship agreement recognises Darlington Borough Council’s apprenticeship scheme as investing in future careers rather than ‘cheap labour’ whilst also providing appropriate job supervision, pastoral support and clarity about rights and responsibilities. UNISON continues to work in partnership with the council, to support apprentices in their workplaces”.

Darlington isn’t the only council to have signed an apprenticeships agreement with Northern UNISON recently as Duncan explained:

UNISON is very pleased to have also signed an Apprenticeship Agreement with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, in the Tees Valley area.”

UNISON very much works in partnership with councils across the region and is pleased to support and recognise the high-quality apprenticeship schemes which have been developed.”