The TUC Charter for apprenticeships

This charter has been developed by us to help employers and other organisations working with unions to commit to delivering and offering high-quality apprenticeships. Use this Word document to tailor a charter to fit your union’s needs.

We are committed to the vision of high-quality apprenticeships as a skills development programme for the current and future workforce as we build a new, fair and prosperous economy. There are a number of principles which must be met in order to ensure that this vision is realised in a way that is beneficial to the apprentices and the employer.

We agree that an apprenticeship will:

1. Be a job with a productive purpose

  • Apprentices have parity of terms and conditions with all other employees.
  • All quality apprenticeships will have progression opportunities to genuine employment. 

2. Be paid a fair rate

  • Apprentice rates reflect the job done.

3.  Ensure high quality training and clear individual development

  • Apprenticeship programmes identify a clear programme of training that is relevant to the job and recognisable in the sector.
  • Apprentices are given minimum 20 per cent paid time off the job for study and training to achieve their apprenticeship. Additional paid time off must be provided for achieving minimum standards in English and maths.
  • On-the-job training is fundamental to the apprenticeship. There is a clear system for supervision, support and mentoring, by appropriately trained work colleagues.

4. Involve the trade union at every level of the programme

  • Trade unions have a constructive role in the development and delivery of the apprenticeship programme. Unions negotiate around aspects of the apprenticeship, support apprentices and work with the employer to ensure the quality and success of the programmes.
  • The union reps play an integral role in supporting, developing and advocating for apprentices. Union representatives, especially union learning reps, are ideally placed to act as mentors to apprentices.

5. Be accessible to, and achievable by all

  • A good apprenticeship programme will include strategies to ensure that apprenticeships are accessible to the widest possible demographic and diverse spread of people.
  • Particular attention is be given to individuals from disadvantaged groups to take up all apprenticeship opportunities with ongoing support to complete the apprenticeship successfully.

6. Be part of, and contribute to, a Healthy and Safe environment

  • Employers and unions work together to ensure a safe environment for all apprentices. Particular attention is given to the unique needs of young workers.
  • Health and safety training covers statutory workplace and job specific requirements.
  • The health and safety programme is reviewed regularly.

7.  Involve a commitment from the employer to complement the workforce, not supplement it

  • Apprentices are not recruited for job substitution.
  • Apprentices are employed by [the employer name], not as temporary or indirect labour.
  • The employer and unions jointly plan to fill genuine skills shortages and future skills gaps.
  • Apprentices are a key part of the workforce.