Policy News Journal - 2014-15

provided by a third party – it could still amount to a contract of apprenticeship, bringing with it an apprentice’s enhanced protection from dismissal. Such a situation was clearly less than appealing from an employer’s perspective.

The current statutory system

The current statutory system was introduced under the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA) and came into effect from April 2012, when regulations were introduced setting out the prescribed form of the agreement. Apprentices are employed under an apprenticeship agreement and, under the terms of the ASCLA, this is not a contract of apprenticeship but a contract of service – meaning that apprentices employed under an apprenticeship agreement can be treated as “normal” employees.

However to be an apprenticeship agreement, certain conditions must be fulfilled. These are:

 the apprentice must undertake to work for the employer under the agreement;  the agreement must include the written basic particulars of employment required by s.1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, and a written statement of the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is training under the relevant apprenticeship framework;  it must state it is governed by the law of England and Wales; and  it must state it is entered into in connection with a qualifying apprenticeship framework.

A failure to meet any one of these conditions risks the arrangement being viewed as a contract of apprenticeship with its enhanced protections.

Future of the statutory apprentice

The Government plans to reform apprenticeship agreements in England, although they will remain in their current format in Wales. The changes will be made under the Deregulation Bill that is due to receive Royal Assent in 2015 and are aimed at simplifying the current system. It will also introduce the “approved English apprenticeship”. Like the apprenticeship agreement, it will be a contract of service (not an apprenticeship) and have to meet similar conditions. The changes include:  replacing the apprenticeship frameworks with simpler general apprenticeship standards approved by the Secretary of State;  changing the government funding of the third-party provider so that, instead of funding being routed through the provider (the current system), it is routed through the employer;  implementing a system of co-investment where the Government and the employer share the cost of third-party training; and  removing the current full funding of third-party training for younger apprentices.

The funding changes, due to be introduced in 2016, seem likely to increase the financial costs to employers, although the final model to be adopted has not yet been decided.

£1,500 grant for employers who recruit an apprentice

16 October 2014

DWP confirm that Employers are still able to claim a grant of £1,500 per apprentice from the National Apprenticeship Service.

The grant has been developed to support business growth by offering young people (16-24) employment through apprenticeships. Until December 2014 employers can claim this grant if

CIPP Policy News Journal

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