The civil service unions agreed the new protocol with the Cabinet Office in January 2017. It is an improvement on the previous agreement.
Skills policy is devolved, so the UK government agreed a funding deal for the apprenticeship levy with the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in November 2016.
Prospect negotiator Dave Allen said: “This protocol will enable Prospect to recruit across wider areas and occupations – including from the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship programme which aims to sign up 750 candidates.”
Prospect will be looking to attract apprentices at Level 3 and above (advanced to degree) across areas like business, HR, finance, commercial, project delivery, digital and technology and the union’s traditional science, technology and engineering areas.
These apprentices will have a starting salary of between £19,500 and £27,000 (depending on location and department). Their Prospect subscription will be between £9.60 - £12.22 a month.
The principles that departments and employers should follow include:
- Departments will be expected to replicate the Cabinet Office and the National Trade Union Committee’s joint commitment to work together on employing apprentices.
- To fall under the term of apprenticeship, candidates should receive a minimum of one year’s employment with at least 30% off-the-job training and the opportunity to apply for professional recognition.
- Apprentices must be a full part of a department or agency’s workforce.
- Career progression and full employment should be provided where possible.
- The annual target for apprentices to comprise 3% of the workforce will be met by recruiting them externally, offering apprenticeships to existing staff and enhancing programmes like the Civil Service Fast Track.
- All apprentices must be employed within the terms of the Civil Service Management Code, have full contractual status and be dealt with in the same way as other established staff if threatened with redundancy.
- Apprentices must do a minimum of 30 hours a week; in exceptional circumstances they can do a minimum of 16 hours a week.
- Existing staff who move into an apprenticeship role in the same organisation should not be disadvantaged in terms of pay. Staff who move to another organisation will receive the pay commensurate with the level and profession they being trained for.
- New recruits will be paid the appropriate level for their training and the length of time it will take for them to be effective in the role.
Allen urged all reps involved in negotiations with employers to make the most of the agreement. It would help if they could tell the union about their discussions and send in the current and projected number, level and occupations of apprentices employed.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and put “apprenticeships” in the subject line.