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I am currently on an apprenticship with a local council as a family aid worker. The apprenticship was working four days a week with one day in college and was with ongoing training leading to an NVQ3 qualification at the end. After starting the apprenticship the college did not start until four months from my starting date, then four months after starting the NVQ3 my employer decided to change the NVQ3 for the diploma so all of my NVQ3 work could not be used. Even though the diploma is a 12-month written course my employer is rushing me to do it in 12 weeks which I am finding stressful as I have to do this after work in my own time. Sometimes I stay up till 3 in the morning. As for training every time I apply I get told I cannot do it. I am a family aid worker working in social services which is a stressful job. I have been given no training, no health and safety training or child protection training. I put in a grievence, but after six weeks have had no reply. I only have six weeks left of the apprenticship and it looks like I will not get my qualification at the end because of the bad structure of the apprenticship. I gave up employment to do this and feel let down and unsupported. What are my legal rights?
If you are employed under a contract of apprenticeship then normally the apprenticeship agreement will state how long the apprenticeship will last for e.g. for 12 months or until you obtain a certain qualification. Legally an apprenticeship cannot be terminated early. If the apprenticeship is ended by your employer before the end of the fixed term then you would have the right to claim breach of contract and claim compensation for loss of wages, loss of training and loss of status. Whether you are employed under a contract of apprenticeship will depend on the terms of the agreement you entered into. I would need to see the agreement to advise you as to whether it is genuinely an apprenticeship or just a normal contract. Indicators that it is an apprenticeship will be use of the word ‘apprentice’ and an agreement to enter into training. If it is not an apprenticeship then your rights in relation to this contract are much reduced e.g. you could only claim your notice pay if your contract was terminated and you have less than one year’s service.
You say you have raised a grievance, but have had no response. Ensure that your grievance is in writing and send a letter chasing a response to your grievance. Explain why it is not possible to complete your training in the timescales they have given you and ask them to comply with the terms of the training agreement. Explain how they have breached the agreement to date. If this does not work, you can seek legal advice.