This Week's News 28.07.17

Government's new crackdown on illegally low wages for apprentices

Rogue employers who illegally underpay apprentices have been threatened with severe jail sentences, under a new government crackdown on abuses of workers' rights. Sir David Metcalf, the government's new director of labour-market enforcement, has warned that the worst offenders could face prison sentences as long as two years. The wider national minimum and living wage enforcement statistics show that in 2016-17, government teams managed to recoup a record £10.9 million in back pay for 98,150 of the UK's lowest-paid workers - a 69 per cent increase on the previous year.
National Minimum Wage

20 per cent off the job funding rule - reactions from the sector

As of 1st May, anyone that starts an apprenticeship - whether on a framework or new standard - must now receive at least 20 per cent off-the-job training, according to new Education and Skills Funding Agency rules. ‘Off the job' is defined as: "Learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice's normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.” The percentage is calculated on the basis of an apprentice's contracted hours of work, spread over the duration of their apprenticeship. For example, if the apprenticeship lasts for 24 months and has an employment contract for seven hours a day, five days a week, for 46 weeks that adds up to a total of 3,220 contracted hours over the two years. So, the minimum amount of time they should spend in off-the-job training would be 644 hours, or the equivalent of one day per working week. This does not have to be undertaken at set times: "It is up to the employer and provider to decide at what point during the apprenticeship the training is best delivered.” Nor does it have to be delivered in a set format. For training to count towards the 20 per cent rule, it must teach "new knowledge, skills and/or behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship”. It must also be "directly relevant to the apprenticeship” and could include teaching of theory, practical training or time spent completing assignments. Training can be carried out at the apprentice's normal workstation, as long as they are learning new skills - "it is the activity, rather than the location” that counts. And some, but not all, off-the-job training can be delivered via distance learning.” Training that the apprentice does in their own time can only count towards the 20 per cent if the apprentice is given time off in lieu. Progress reviews can't be counted and any English and maths training doesn't count either.

Tom Richmond, former senior advisor to skills ministers Nick Boles and Matt Hancock

"Twenty per cent off-the-job-training should be the minimum for apprentices. Say an apprentice is employed for 35 hours a week, seven hours a day. If they spend one day each week training off the job for a full year, that equates, excluding holidays, to just over 300 hours of training. And because the government is clear that an apprentice must spend a minimum of 20 per cent of their employment on off-the-job training, this means that every apprentice needs to spend well over 300 hours of every year of their apprenticeship engaged in learning away from their job.”

Sue Pittock, CEO of Remit Training

"Who first thought up the 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement, which is now an ESFA funding rule? It seems that policymakers felt that something like the old-style day release from a local college would still be relevant in 2017 to apprenticeships across all sectors. But just because a standard stipulates 20 per cent off-the-job training, it isn't necessarily going to improve quality. To make a difference, the emphasis must be on a programme's overall quality, not an arbitrary percentage.”

Mark Dawe, CEO of AELP (Association of Employment and Learning Providers)

"A mandatory 20 per cent doesn't offer any correlation with the quality of the provision actually being delivered; it is simply a blunt broad-brush stick to be used as a compliance measure - in essence, a requirement of funding by government. All other forms of education where the state is making a financial contribution encourage young people to do homework but apprenticeships appear to be singled out for off-the-job learning to be part of the working week.”

Lesley Ellis, Managing Director of ITS

"Apprentices are entitled to receive the training they need to become accomplished hairdressers but specifying a number of hours, as opposed to looking at the quality of that training, is a throwback to day release at college days. What the government fails to recognise is that so much learning takes place by watching and learning from being amongst master craftsmen and women. It's a funding rule; so it is, was it is - but we are hoping that the civil servants making these decision wake up and smell the coffee!”

British Values

Fundamental British Values underpin what it is to be a citizen in a modern and diverse Great Britain valuing our community and celebrating diversity of the UK. British Values are not exclusive to being British and are shared by other democratic countries as a way of creating an orderly society, where individual members can feel safe, valued and can contribute for the good of themselves and others.


"A government in which the people are allowed to influence policy by means of a direct vote or referendum.”

Democracy in the workplace: a culture built upon freedom and equality, where everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities.

  • Leadership and accountability
  • Joint decision making
  • Team meetings
  • The right to protest and petition
  • Receiving and giving feedback

Rule of Law

"Although people may hold different views about what is right and wrong, everyone living in the United Kingdom is subject to its laws.”

Rule of law in the workplace: the need for rules to make a happy, safe and secure environment to work.

  • Legislation
  • Agreed ways of working, policies and procedures
  • How the law protects you and others
  • Codes of conduct

Respect and Tolerance

"Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.”

Respect and tolerance in the workplace: understanding that we all don't share the same beliefs and values. Respecting the values, ideas and beliefs of others whilst not imposing our own on others.

  • Embracing diversity
  • The importance of religion, traditions, cultural heritage and preferences
  • Stereotyping, labeling and prejudice
  • Tackling discrimination

Individual Liberty

"The right to believe, act and express oneself freely.”

Individual liberty in the workplace: protection of your rights and the right of others you work with.

  • Equality and human rights
  • Personal development
  • Respect and dignity
  • Rights, choice, consent and individuality
  • Values and principles

Team ITS warmly welcomes these learners who started their Apprenticeships this week

Lauren Grainger - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Pure Hair, Lightwater
Emily Terry - Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship - Cabello, Frimley

Congratulations to the following learner who completed her Apprenticeship this week

Rhiannon Shaw - Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship - Twist, Newbury


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