A court has been told that a teenager who was tragically killed after a recruitment agency placed him in a dangerous apprenticeship in order to ‘rush through’ a £4,500 government payment for placing him there.
16 year old Cameron Minshull died after an accident at Huntley Mount Engineering in Bury, after becoming entangled in a lathe. The company admitted corporate manslaughter in connection with his death in 2013.
Prosecutors at the time alleged that Huntley Mount Engineering had used apprentices as ‘cheap labour’ and had a history of failing to train them properly.
Now the recruitment agency that organised his apprenticeship at the workplace has now gone on trial, and is accused of failing to ensure his health and safety by exposing him to that risk.
Lime People Training Solutions Ltd is alleged to have done nothing to ensure that the work was suitable, prosecutor Bryan Cox QC told Manchester Crown Court. The jury was told that the job that was given to Cameron ‘was a wholly unsuitable placement for an apprentice’.
The prosecutor also claimed that the agency failed their contractual obligation to provide a ‘healthy and safe’ environment for teenage workers.
While the apprenticeship had been funded by the government’s Skills Training Agency, LPTS were not registered with them, but had been awarded a contract from another company who was, the court was told.
The recruitment agency found clients by ‘cold calling from a call centre in Tenerife’ to find companies who wanted apprenctices.
No one from the firm was present in court – and the jury has been told corporate defendants can choose not to be.
Cameron answered a job advertisement for apprenticeships and began working for Huntley Mount after an interview lasting around 10 minutes. However it is alleged that no health and safety assessment was completed by Lime People Training Solutions at the premises.
An ex employee of the recruitment agency is expected to testify that ‘matters were being rushed through’ as Cameron was one of the first apprentices, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The case is currently ongoing.