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Model agreement to benefit apprentices

12:00 08 February 2012

YOUNG people across the country could benefit from a model agreement for apprenticeships which a borough council has been involved in creating.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the UNISON
union have developed the agreement which Unionlearn – the Trades Union Congress’
(TUC) learning and skills organisation – is looking to take up nationally.

The agreement, which is between an apprentice, employer and union, clearly defines the commitment of all parties and is to ensure a consistent and
supportive approach to employing apprentices.

A borough council spokeswoman said it encapsulated good practice at the borough council, but it also built on that.

The agreement is being signed by the borough council and Unionlearn on Friday, as National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close. The signing means it is being formally adopted by the borough council.

Councillor David Ray, cabinet member for performance and resources at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “There is a pressing need to find employment opportunities for our young people and St Edmundsbury has an excellent track record developing our own apprentices and promoting apprenticeships in the business community.

“When the TUC came to discuss good practice with us we introduced them to more than 25 apprentices now employed after successful placements.

“I am delighted that this model agreement will help other organisations in developing the potential of young people in the workplace.”

Craig Young is a lifelong learning representative at the borough council and is also employed directly by UNISON to develop apprenticeships across the region. He carried out research on what makes a good apprenticeship and what does not, coming up with the model agreement.

He said: “Unison has been working on encouraging employers to commit to supporting apprenticeships and ensuring that all apprentices are treated fairly and consistently and have a positive experience. I have been into many workplaces and seen how widely this varies. The model agreement will be an essential tool in maximising the benefits to the organisation and the individual.”

Kirsty Downes, an apprentice at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said she had not been made to feel like an apprentice, but a “valuable member of the team”.

“Even though the people I work with are somewhat older than me, they all have lots of guidance and knowledge to share with me,” she said.

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