The Department for Education’s confirmation comes despite previous reports that Anne Milton, the Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, had previously stated the trainees would not be paid after the end of January.
The Huffington Post story regarding the end of payments for apprentices was taken from Ms Milton’s response to a question in parliament posed by Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary. Ms Milton’s reply, published on the 24th January, stated that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) had confirmed that the trainee construction workers affected would only be paid up until the end of January.
However, a spokesperson from the Department for Education has now stated that they have taken steps to protect trainees by asking the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to find new training providers and new employers for all of Carillion’s former apprentices. In fact, the CITB has already organised alternative paid employment for over half of all the affected trainees, and is working to arrange new positions for the remainder.
Ms Rayner called the move a ‘U-turn’, suggesting that the Government has given in to pressure from the Labour Party and the relevant trade unions to continue paying the apprentices, which is welcome news for the hundreds of construction trainees who were facing a loss of income.
She said that she hoped that the Government would stand by their word, adding that the trainees had worked hard for their qualifications and jobs, and were looking at the prospect of losing their pay and the chance to complete their training. She said that the failure by ministers to give guarantees earlier had caused unnecessary worry and uncertainty.
Carillion was the largest employer of apprentices in construction in the UK. Their training was originally being handled by Carillion Training Services, the company’s own skills division. When the firm went into liquidation, approximately 1,400 carpenters and bricklayers were let go and left with uncertainty about the future.
Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, promised that he would make sure that every apprentice that had been left out of work due to Carillion’s demise would be found new employment so that they could all complete their training.
All apprentices will continue to receive pay in the meantime.
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