Graduates who left Capita’s unpaid training scheme told to pay £21,000

No fees are charged for those who change their minds within the first 14 days of the trial programme

Graduates who do not complete an unpaid training scheme have been asked to pay £21,000 to outsourcing company Capita, despite not being guaranteed work under the programme.

Capita, which provides a wide range of services ranging from store cards to electronic tagging, has come under criticism after advertising for graduates to undertake roles in its IT division.

This requires them to attend unpaid training in Manchester or London for between two and four months; furthermore, former trainees have spoken of their disappointment in the scheme, which consisted almost entirely of online reading with little or no on-the-job experience or face-to-face teaching.

Capita has stated that the penalty for leaving the two-year scheme prior to competition is now £13,000, although different rates had been applied previously, depending upon the graduate’s individual role.

A spokesperson from the company confirmed that all participants of the scheme are briefed about the terms of the course and the fact that free training is only provided for those who complete the full two years and are then offered a position by a Capita client or Capita itself.

It is also free of charge for those who do not go on to find a role within 90 days of finishing the training.

It has also emerged that FDM Group, one of Capita’s closest rivals and a FTSE-listed organisation, also insists that graduates complete several months of unpaid training before they can secure a job within the firm.

FDM requires potential employees to undertake unpaid training for up to 14 weeks, after which they will be offered a position in 99 per cent of cases. Like Capita, FDM insists trainees pay a fee of around £20,000 if they choose to leave the scheme early, or indeed within the first two years of starting work for the company.

In response to the criticism, an FDM spokesperson pointed out the considerable investment the company is making in its employees and that the fee is one way in which it can recoup some of the costs involved in training an individual who subsequently decides to leave the organisation.

She also outlined FDM’s commitment to running a fully-transparent operation, with applicants having a full understanding of the implications of leaving the scheme early before they sign up for the training.

No fees are charged for those who change their minds within the first 14 days of the trial programme; in addition, once their training is complete and the graduate moves into an employed position in the company, they will receive a very competitive salary – far more than the national minimum wage.

All employees are expected to be workplace-ready before they engage in any type of work for the company, which means they must have undertaken all the relevant training and passed both internal and external exams.

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