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Apprenticeship Agreements

Have you got it right? Avoid the costly mistakes.

As today marks the first day of National Apprenticeship Week and it is reported that in 2018/19 there were 742,400 people participating in an apprenticeship in England, it is an opportune moment to remind ourselves about the need to ensure that once an apprentice has been recruited, they are issued with the right type of agreement to govern the term of their apprenticeship. Getting it wrong could be extremely costly as we explain below.  

There are three types of apprenticeship agreement in England:

  1. A Contract of Apprenticeship (the oldest form)
  2. An Apprenticeship Agreement (used where the apprenticeship that takes place within an apprenticeship framework)
  3. An Approved English Apprenticeship Agreement (used where an approved apprenticeship standard is in force).

Having an Apprenticeship Agreement or an Approved English Apprenticeship Agreement in place is far more preferable for companies than having a Contract of Apprenticeship in place. The reason being that if the apprentice is employed under a Contract of Apprenticeship, they will enjoy enhanced employment rights, particularly in relation to termination of their employment. In particular, there are limited circumstances within which they can be made redundant, and if their apprenticeship is terminated by the employing company, for whatever reason, before the apprenticeship term, the company could be liable to pay them for all the earnings they would have received until the end of the apprenticeship term, as well as compensation for future loss of earnings (that being the earnings they would potentially have earned had they completed their apprenticeship and attained the qualifications they were working towards).

An Apprentice Agreement or an Approved English Apprenticeship Agreement on the other hand, give the employer more control relating to how they manage the relationship and when ending the apprenticeship it if the apprentice is not properly applying themselves to achieving the relevant qualification, or has committed an act of misconduct.

To be an Apprentice Agreement or an Approved English Apprenticeship Agreement, specific provisions needs to be included, including, but not limited to, a statement of the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained under the relevant apprenticeship framework, or stating that an approved apprenticeship standard applies.  

As the use of apprentices continues to rise, it is more important than ever for companies to review their current arrangements and ensure that the apprentice contracts they put in place are watertight and are fit for purpose.

If you need any help with checking your contracts are what you need, please get in touch with Annie in the employment team. Email anniegray@schofieldsweeney.co.uk or call 0113 849 4041.

"Being issued with the right type of agreement is important. Getting it wrong could be extremely costly"