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Build for the future theme as apprenticeships celebrated again

This week heralds the return of National Apprenticeships Week 2022, which runs from 7-13 February and is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are ever more important as the school leaving age is now 18 unless students stay in full-time education. For example, at a college; starting an apprenticeship or traineeship or spending 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is ‘Build the Future’, which reflects on the benefits of training and how it can develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career.

For employers, it is a chance to develop and integrate into the workforce bright young individuals who are prepared for the rapidly changing challenges of the workplace.

For employers taking on apprentices is beneficial, but they must also be aware of their legal obligations to these young workers, who have the same rights as other employees.

These include the right to the equivalent of a contract of employment or Apprenticeship Agreement and a minimum of 20 days paid leave each year, plus bank holidays.

They must get paid at least the apprenticeship level of the National Minimum Wage, which will be £4.81 per hour from this April, work at least 30 hours per week with their employer, and attend part-time study through a mixture of day/block release, distance, and e-learning.

The agreement must be signed by both parties and lays out details of future employment.

These include

  • What type of training
  • Their working conditions
  • What level of qualification or standard the apprentice will be working towards
  • Resolution of any disputes
  • The length of time they will be employed

Guidance to employers from Acas  (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), includes:

Working hours

Workers aged under 18 have extra rights to protect them because of their age. Workers aged 16 or 17 must not work more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.

They must also have, as a minimum:

  • A 30-minute break if their working day is longer than 4.5 hours
  • Twelve hours’ rest in any 24-hour period in which they work (for example, between one working day and the next)
  • 48 hours’ (two days) rest taken together, each week or – if there is a good business reason why this is not possible – at least 36 hours’ rest, with the remaining 12 hours taken as soon as possible afterwards

Keeping work records

Records must be kept of:

  • Working hours – to make sure they’re not working more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week
  • Night work, if they do any – to show they’re not working during restricted hours
  • Health assessments offered before starting any night work and throughout their employment
  • These records must be kept for two years from the date they were made.

For help and advice on employment matters, contact our expert team.

Mander Hadley

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