Apprenticeship Mess Up

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by AnonRatherNotSay, Apr 30, 2018.

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  1. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Hi everyone, last year we asked our local college to find us a level 2 business administration apprentice as we could fund this for 12 months. They failed to find any candidates so in the end we advertised the job and found someone (21 year old) looking to do a level 3 as they had already completed a level 2.

    The college were happy to sign this apprentice up so we provided her with a job offer letter stating it was a 12 month course. This was signed by her. Emails between me and the college also only mentioned 12 months.

    We're 9 months into it and I have only recently found out that the college run level 3 apprenticeships for 18 months! The paperwork the woman from the college got me to hastily sign while she was onsite does say 18 months too so that's a big oversight on my part. Does this trump my signed offer letter that says 12 months?

    Also the college assessor has been poached so they no longer have anyone delivering business admin. I was told that someone must visit the apprentice at least once every 12 weeks or they are breaching minimum standards. This will happen in just over a week's time. I've called the college and interviewing for a replacement failed so they're no closer to having a replacement so not sure how the course will even be delivered. My apprentice has no work set. Could I demand they end the course for lack of delivery?

    They did say the soonest she could complete the course within was 1yr+1wk if she wanted to. I would then be willing to offer her a digital marketing apprenticeship with a specialist provider with an assurance of a full time job at the end of it. Hoping she agrees but if not will I have to bite the bullet and pay full wack until the end? She understands we're a start up so if she doesn't accept this (knowing we only actually offered her 12mths) then I won't keep her on past this current apprenticeship. Not sure I can outright say this though.

    Thoughts?
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
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  2. Gecko001

    Gecko001 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Is this a one-day-a-week day release scheme where you are paying the college fees,but with a grant if the apprentice completes the course?
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Gecko001 Member since: Apr 21, 2011
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  3. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Hi, they work for me 5 days a week. The college offers no classroom training. The only support they offered our apprentice was the assessor that came out every few months.

    Also I paid a £200 levy to take the apprentice on.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
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  4. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Sounds like you just want a cheap employee and not a proper apprentice who you would go on and employ,

    I would suggest you treat the lady as you would hope your own children would be treated and not as low cost disposable assets to discard when they are to expensive

    We only ever took on three apprentices and each were told they had a job at the end and paid over the going rate, unfortunately all left for various reasons well before the end of the first year
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
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  5. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    So what is the college actually "running" for 18 months?
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
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  6. Gecko001

    Gecko001 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    It seems to be that you offered the job based the employee getting a level 3 qualification in 12 months, but you made a mistake as the qualification takes 18 months to get.

    So your plan seems to be to tell your employee that it was the college's fault because they have staffing problems with Plan B of convincing them that start-up employers have different employment responsibilities to regular employers.

    I would come clean and offer some sort of compensation for your mistake in the form of extra pay for the 6 months in the form of a better job as I think you are suggesting - with raise in pay.

    Edit: Apprenticeship schemes in my experience are supervised very poorly by the scheme staff. I think often a very low priority is given to these schemes with regard to employing good staff to run them. Many of the schemes seem to be just good PR for the colleges and politicians who propose them. Employers treat them with equal disrespect also..
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Gecko001 Member since: Apr 21, 2011
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  7. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

    119 2
    Hi All

    I was after some legal advice, which is why I didn't mention what I've offered her and what incentive I've put in place. But just to put your mind at ease I pay her above the minimum hourly rate and I've offered her a £150 bonus for completing within the 1yr+1wk period allowed by the college. When I took her on I explained at the time that being a brand new business we would look to have her do two 12mth apprenticeships with a staggered wage increase leading onto full employment at the end of that. She was happy because she'd been out of work so guaranteed work was appreciated.

    The college don't provide anything. All we have is something called OneFile where all the modules reside. An assessor was coming out and setting her modules. That's the extent of it.

    I know some people won't agree with it but many start-up businesses either use apprentices as "cheap" labour or simply don't employ anyone and let them claim benefits instead. Most "kids" have very little experience and are unable to function as well as older people so why would I even bother with them if they weren't less expensive?

    (And don't get me started on the government pulling all the SSP relief that small businesses need.)

    I want to know if I can complain to someone about the college failing to provide the expected minimum standards. Would the apprenticeship then end due to non-conformance? I want my employee to stick by the job offer she signed up to (regardless of the course length turning out to be longer). I am not heartless but I'm being completely open on here for the avoidance of doubt.

    We also now need to take on another apprentice but can only afford to do that if our current one doesn't have the massive pay rise in July (I've explained this to her.) The apprenticeship provider we'll be using from now on appears to be much more competent than the college. Now if our current apprentice doesn't accept what we've offered her and there's no way around it then I'll have to wait until December to take another person on. At that point I'll either have offer my current apprentice another apprenticeship on the minimum apprenticeship wage or let her go altogether.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
    #7
  8. STDFR33

    STDFR33 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    You can complain to the college, but ultimately it was you oversight.

    If I were your employee, I would not appreciated being pulled from the programme. I would have expected a lower wage because I was on an apprenticeship, and at the end of that, expected to have gained both experience AND a qualification.

    I think the best solution is to carry on with the course, and continue with the staggered wage increases you initially proposed ... presumably after a year, they are still much more valuable to the business than when they first started.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: STDFR33 Member since: Aug 7, 2016
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  9. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    It's a bit difficult to answer without seeing the contract you signed with the college and the contract you signed with your apprentice.

    If she is happy to complete in the 1 year 1 week timescale, and you think it is feasible, given the modules she has to complete, then that is clearly the best option.

    There has recently been a report about apprenticeships and one of the recommendations in it was that Ofsted should have a role in checking training providers. At the moment a 'training provider' is able to get away with providing nothing in the way of training, and it is the apprentices and their employers who are being conned.

    The college should have a complaints procedure, but I would be inclined to delay complaining until she has been awarded her Level 3.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
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  10. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

    119 2
    Hi Newchodge, I will have to dig the paperwork out. The assessor asked me to sign it before she left, which I shouldn't have done but I didn't expect to be mislead. I have slapped my own wrist.

    I forgot to also mention that this new apprenticeship provider runs their Level 3 apprenticeships over a 12 month period. Their apprenticeships are much more demanding than "Business Admin" and they run 6 mandatory 1 week offsite training courses (which we pay the apprentice to attend).

    So the college running theirs for 18 months is unnecessary. Even our apprentice has commented on how little work there is and how easy it is.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
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  11. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    But, presumably, their government funding is dependent on the length of the course!
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
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  12. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

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    According to the college for them to get funding their course can run from 1yr+1wk up to 18mths. So they are the ones that advised me to get our apprentice to complete in 1yr+1wk.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
    #12
  13. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

    119 2
    I've explained the position we're in to the new apprenticeship provider and they are looking into it. Potentially our apprentice having no interaction with anyone from the college for what could amount to 6 months could be reason to terminate it.

    (According to my chat with the college yesterday, they had prior warning that the current assessor was leaving so 3 months ago they started advertising for a replacement. They did interviews but no one suitable was found so they are repeating this process again. So it could easily be another 3 months with no assessor.)
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
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  14. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Easily be longer than 3 months too.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  15. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Definitely will be but has anyone had a provider fail to deliver and had the apprenticeship end because of this? Personally I just want the apprentice to complete before July.
     
    Posted: May 1, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
    #15
  16. AnonRatherNotSay

    AnonRatherNotSay UKBF Regular Free Member

    119 2
    I spoke to the fundings council today. Turns out that our local college are in serious breach of the rules and have made several mistakes...

    We should have received £2500 age grant for an L3, which I queried at the time and was told it was reduced to £1500.
    I paid 10% levy even though we employ under 49 staff so shouldn't pay anything.
    They are not running any off-the-job workshops/classes, which is mandatory for the provider to provide for 20% of the apprentice's paid time.
    They are just about to breach the 12 week rule about not sending out a trained tutor/assessor.

    So they are going to be investigated.
     
    Posted: May 3, 2018 By: AnonRatherNotSay Member since: Mar 10, 2014
    #16
  17. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    The college are just as guilty as you for taking advantage of somebody who genuinely believed they were receiving training that was able to be validated and was at a known National Standard. You said:
    The assessor is being provided to not only set the modules, but to assess (clue in the title?) The system is actually quite clear own how it works - IF - you understand yourself how education works. The students have a set number of modules to complete. The standards for completion are published (I assume you downloaded them and checked what exactly YOU were making sure they could do?). The college are providing an assessment framework, and YOU do the training. What has also gone wrong is that they have to deliver the elements you cannot do - perhaps there is a module on a subject your business has no knowledge of? They have to fill in the gaps. It isn't hard - but you and the college enter into a partnership to train and educate the apprentice. You appear to be using them as a cheap employee. I assume you keep records of your training input? This is needed to enable a Level 3 qualification on the National Framework to be awarded. Evidence. You could also discover YOU get visited by OFSTED if the college have a list during the period. A government employee turns up and scrutinises your records, talks too the student apprentices, and formulates a conclusion on the standard of training you are providing. One of the hazards of pretending you are training an apprentice. They are NOT normal employees, they are under training, and many people forget this. If the learning contract has not been fulfilled, then the college and you are jointly liable if somebody wants to take action. After all, you promised an education in return for the lower pay rate. I like the question above - would you do this to one of your children?

    The college have messed up, but so have you, and if you were a Government Minister, you'd be resigning for the mistreatment of a vulnerable person - who believed the talk about a Level 3 qualification. As Level 3 equates broadly to an A Level - how did you actually think they were going to learn to this level? Level 1 and 2 are quite trivial to a degree in practice, but Level 3 takes serious work from the student AND their educators - which is what you signed up to be!

    I'm pretty disgusted by the way business treats apprentices, and having a Level 3 apprentice is going to stretch many businesses, because they don't just have to do their job, but understand why they do things, and the history behind it. They also need to be able to analyse and produce conclusions on what is going on. They have to list and evaluate what training they have had, how good it was and was it worthwhile. What will yours say?
     
    Posted: May 3, 2018 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  18. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    I go back to a statement I made elsewhere - that a government sponsored apprenticeship is not worth a bucket of warm spit.
     
    Posted: May 3, 2018 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  19. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    While I fully agree with the sentiment, I think the blame lies more with the 'training providers' the regulatory body (ha) and the government.

    A small employer who is encouraged by a useless college (that sees a way of increasing its earnings by offering apprenticeships, for which they have to do nothing but send someone to the workplace every 3 months) may believe that they are offering an approved apprenticeship, without ever being advised of their legal responsibilities.

    Many many apprenticeships end with the apprentice knowing little more than when they started, or knowing how to flip a burger, check temperatures of cooked food and say 'have a nice day'.

    This is the fault of the government department that should be ensuring proper trainign is being offered.
     
    Posted: May 3, 2018 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #19
  20. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    [QUOTE="Newchodge, post: 2847275, member: 156426"

    This is the fault of the government department that should be ensuring proper trainign is being offered.[/QUOTE]

    The civil servants or the MPs to blame?
     
    Posted: May 3, 2018 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #20
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