UNISON is hoping moves to make sure apprentices in the North East of England get decent pay and training will encourage more action across the country.
In January alone, the region saw Hartlepool College sign up to UNISON’s Apprenticeship Charter, while the union also signed a local apprenticeship agreement with Redcar and Cleveland council.
The college is the first apprenticeship provider in the area to sign up to the charter, and UNISON local organiser Jo Spires welcomed its “commitment that all apprenticeships offered will result in positive outcomes for both apprentices and the employer – ensuring apprentices receive the correct rate of pay for jobs they are doing, high quality training and a safe working environment.”
Speaking at the signing, college principal Darren Hankey said: “The charter is about high quality apprenticeships and that’s what we strive to provide on a day-to-day basis and this really underlines our approach to the work that we do.”
The college prides itself on being the “number one apprenticeship provider in the north of England”.
In Redcar and Cleveland, the agreement between UNISON and the council recognises the quality of the latter’s apprenticeship scheme.
Branch secretary Andrew Tickle said the new agreement will guarantee the apprentices high quality training while being employed on the same terms and conditions as existing council employees.
The agreement recognises the apprenticeship scheme as investing in future careers rather than ‘cheap labour’ while providing appropriate job supervision, pastoral support and clarity about rights and responsibilities.
UNISON regional organiser congratulated the council on its scheme and outlined the strengths of UNISON’s relationship: working in partnership with the council as an employer, supporting the apprentices and being there for them throughout the whole of their working careers.
Related story: ‘A new dawn for apprentices’ (27 November 2017)
UNISON learning: An introduction to apprenticeships (11 September 2017)