Keywords: Ofsted, vocational training, contract of apprenticeship, apprenticeship agreement
Apprenticeships have been in the news a lot over the last few months, most recently with the publication of an Ofsted report on 22 October 2015. As you can see from the government's press release, the report criticises the quality of apprenticeships, raising the concern that the apprenticeship brand is being de-valued at a time when the government is working hard to increase the amount of vocational training taking place. Whilst we applaud the initiative to increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities, employers should be aware of the following important issues which arise in relation to apprenticeships:
- The difference between a
contract of apprenticeship and an apprenticeship
The rights of an apprentice can vary significantly according to the basis on which they are retained. We would recommend that any apprentices are engaged under an apprenticeship agreement under the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 ("ASCLA") rather than under a common law contract of apprenticeship. This is because apprentices engaged under contracts of apprenticeship benefit from enhanced employment protection and it is extremely difficult to bring the apprenticeship to an end if it is not working out; in a nutshell, it is much easier to terminate an apprenticeship agreement under ASCLA. The differences between an apprenticeship agreement and a common law contract of apprenticeship are subtle, and so care should be taken when drafting them to ensure that you retain the ability to terminate as you would with an ordinary employee. You will, therefore, need to be clear as to the basis on which you are engaging an apprentice.
Earlier this year, the ASCLA was amended by the Deregulation Act 2015, introducing the concept of an "approved English apprenticeship agreement" with effect from 26 May 2015. In order to decide if you need to make any changes to your template apprenticeship agreement in light of the new legislation, the first step is to determine if there is a relevant standard published in respect of your apprenticeships. To be an approved English apprenticeship, there needs to be a relevant standard published – if there is no relevant standard, you do not need to make any changes and the apprenticeship agreement would operate under the old regime. If a relevant standard does exist, this needs to be referenced in the agreement and the agreement would no longer constitute an "apprenticeship agreement" but an "approved English apprenticeship agreement".
Originally published 9 November 2015
Learn more about our Employment & Benefits practice.
Visit us at mayerbrown.com
Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.
© Copyright 2015. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.
This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.