ACAS launch new guide for employing apprentices and young workers

The guide provides advice to employers on how to manage, support and retain young workers. It also details the additional special protections for apprentices and workers under the age of 18.

The guidance was based on the findings of a research paper commissioned by Acas on young people’s views and experiences on entering the workplace. This found that early work experiences have a core influence on a young person’s career path. It also found that young workers (aged 16-24) are more likely to face problems at work but less likely than older workers to take actions to resolve workplace problems and are therefore more likely to respond by leaving the job. The guidance sets out the steps that an employer either must follow or should consider in relation to apprentices and young workers, to assist the working relationship and increase the likelihood of retention.

Acas has listed five steps that an employer should follow when looking to recruit apprentices: 

1.  An employer should consider what skills they require their apprentice to learn and find an apprenticeship framework or standard that suits the business. 
2.  Find a local training provider (e.g. a local college) that can handle the apprentice’s training, qualification and assessment. 
3.  Check if the business may be eligible for financial support in the form of a grant, funding or recovering part of the training and/or qualification costs.
4.  Advertise the apprenticeship.
5.  Hire an apprentice using an apprenticeship agreement. An apprenticeship agreement needs to include the rate of pay, working conditions, length of apprenticeship and the training and qualifications that the apprentice should receive.

The guidance outlines the importance of informing young workers about their role and providing a proper induction. It also reminds employers of the specific rights that young workers have. In particular, in England (but not Scotland or Wales) a young worker between 16-18 years old must work a minimum of 20 hours a week and this must be alongside part-time education or training.  All workers must receive the current minimum wage, currently £3.30 per hour for an apprentice and £3.87 per hour for a young worker and those aged 16 or 17 must be allowed two consecutive days off per week.

It is important that employers follow the Acas guidelines in relation to apprentices and young workers to ensure legal compliance. However, it should also assist with increasing retention rates of young workers, thereby providing the employer with a stable workforce. 

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