This Week's News 13.04.18

Keeping apprentices happy

Apprentices are critical to the growth and sustainability of your business. However, if you employ one and they end up leaving, it can prove to be extremely costly and make things more difficult. You also need to factor in the costs associated with recruiting and re-training a new apprentice. Several key factors that cause apprentices to quit include:

  • Having bad relationships with their boss or co-workers
  • Feeling put upon and unappreciated
  • No strong support network such as a workplace mentor, friends and family
  • Not enough structured training
  • Achievements not acknowledged nor celebrated.

Contracts of employment

All employees have an employment contract with their employer. A contract is an agreement that sets out an employee's:

  • employment conditions
  • rights
  • responsibilities
  • duties

These are called the 'terms' of the contract. Employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends (e.g. by an employer or employee giving notice or an employee being dismissed) or until the terms are changed (usually by agreement between the employee and employer). All employees, regardless of the number of hours they work per week, are entitled to receive a written statement from their employer within two months of starting work.


British businesses are bracing themselves for 25 May 2018 when the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforced. It was encouraging to hear Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham say on breakfast TV that small businesses in the UK will not be targeted for non-compliance in regards to GDPR compliance. To find out what you must do to be compliant visit the ICO website . Alternatively, look at the guidance from Hairdressers Journal.

School leaving age

In England, a young person can leave school on the last Friday in June if they will be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.  They must then do one of the following until they're 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

British businesses would benefit from a Swiss-style apprenticeship system, according to experts

Employers would benefit from school leavers starting apprenticeships lasting for several years, according to a new study released by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. The report, by Professor Stefan Wolter, chair of the OECD expert group on vocational education and training, and Eva Joho, an economist at the University of Bern, says that England can learn from other countries with traditions of apprenticeships. Concerns among many companies about the costs of training apprentices remain a barrier to growth in apprenticeships, says the report. Firms need to be convinced "that apprenticeship models are a potential win-win-win situation, creating benefits not only for students and the public purse but also for the training firms". The report focuses on the Swiss model of apprenticeships - which are targeted at school leavers and typically last for three years. Drawing on cost-benefit data from around 2,500 Swiss training firms as well as the UK's labour force survey, the report looks at how the Swiss approach could work if applied to England. It states: "The chances for firms of breaking even at the end of the training period of an apprenticeship are highest for three-year programs assuming that the apprentices are younger than 19 years, because minimum wages increase substantially afterwards". It adds: "Therefore, apprenticeships for young people as an alternative to school-based general education or school-based vocational training may produce the best outcomes from the perspective of firms".

Policy recommendations

  • Instead of arbitrary apprenticeship targets, the government should direct its focus on driving up levels of quality in training programmes. Such a move would have the potential to increase productivity, ensuring training programmes are more attractive to firms, and could also deliver gains to apprentices, through improved wages and skills.
  • The government should consider the case for expanding apprenticeships in England among 16 to 18-year-olds, in line with other advanced economies - given the overwhelming benefits generated to both firms and apprentices.
  • Further interventions must be made to tackle high apprentice dropout rates. For apprenticeships to be profitable for employers, companies need to retain a substantial proportion of apprentices. High dropout rates may mean firms are reluctant to train in some occupations because they would increase costs.
  • As the benefits of apprenticeships for employers is contingent on employer size, the government should consider policies to support smaller and medium companies, who are likely to experience fewer benefits than larger firms.

You can download the full report here.

Home Secretary launches serious violence strategy

Home Secretary Amber Rudd sets out a multi-million pound commitment to steering young people away from crime and tackling violent drug-dealing gangs. Commissioned by the Home Secretary and backed with £40 million of Home Office funding, the government's first Serious Violence Strategy marks a major shift in the government's response to knife crime and gun crime. The strategy stresses the importance of early intervention to tackle the root causes of serious violence and steer young people away from crime in the first place, while ensuring the police continue to have the tools and support they need to tackle violent crime. £90 million of 'dormant accounts' money (i.e. savings accounts which have shown no activity over a long period) which will support disadvantaged and disengaged young people with their transition to work.

Workplace temperatures

During working hours, the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be reasonable. There's no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures, e.g. when it's too cold or too hot to work. However, guidance suggests a minimum of 16C or 13C if employees are doing physical work. There's no guidance for a maximum temperature limit.
Employers must stick to health and safety at work law, including:

  • keeping the temperature at a comfortable level
  • providing clean and fresh air

Employees should talk to their employer if the workplace temperature isn't comfortable.

Congratulations to the following learners who completed their Apprenticeships this week

Emily Francis - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Capella, Camberley
Sophie Bedden - Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship - Studio One, Godalming

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