The consultation on preventing misuse of the term “apprenticeships” in relation to unauthorised training has opened on 29th July and will continue until 19th August 2015. The relevant groups of prospective and current apprentices, employers and training providers are encouraged to submit their views.
The legislation will prevent lower-quality courses, which do not meet the high standards required for an apprenticeship, from being labelled the same as statutory apprenticeships. As apprenticeships are not protected by legislation, the Government fears that the apprenticeship brand will be diluted by these lower-quality courses.
In March 2015 the Government published a Quality Statement, which outlines the requirements set for statutory apprenticeships. Amongst other requirements, the apprentices must have achieved at least a Level 2 in English and Maths, minimum 30 hours of employment per week, 12 or more months length of apprenticeship and at least 20% of employed time has to involve receiving training off the job.
The proposal, which will be brought in through the Enterprise Bill, will prevent education providers from using the terms “apprentice” or “apprenticeship” unless the course or training they are offering is a statutory apprenticeship. The proposal suggests that an offence will be created for those providers who do not comply. A breach of the legislation will attract a penalty sanction in accordance with an enforcement regime. The Government’s proposal is that the maximum penalty is a fine leading onto prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court.
The only legal apprenticeships remaining will be Government funded apprenticeships.
Unaffected by this legislation will be:
- Providers whose courses comply with the statutory apprenticeship requirements;
- Employers offering their own fully funded contracts of apprenticeship or non-statutory apprenticeship training within their business;
- Individuals who already possess an apprenticeship qualification.
Employers will still have the option to access other skills training from an outside provider, but this training will not be advertised as an apprenticeship.