In DWP more than half of new entrants to the Department are now appointed as apprentices. PCS recognises the importance of supporting these new entrants to ensure that they are properly trained and fairly treated by the employer. A strong trade union like PCS to represent apprentices is vital to ensuring this happens.
PCS has negotiated with the employer at national level to ensure that apprentices are given the time away from their day job to undertake the learning and training that is needed to give the best start to their career in the civil service in order to safeguard their long term future.
Apprentices must be allowed a minimum of 20% ‘off-the-job-training’. This will work out as approximately 495 hours over 18 months, however if the apprenticeship length is increased then so should the hours available. PCS has successfully challenged instances where the Department have failed to provide the correct level of ‘off-the-job-training’.
It is important to highlight that although off-the-job learning should be at least 20%, this does not equate to one full day offline per week. The most appropriate way to take this time should be discussed with your line manager in order to ensure that Apprentices have the right balance to achieve their learning requirements under the scheme. If you are having problems getting the time you need then speak to your local rep about getting help resolving the issue.
Off-the-job training could include the following:
- Core and Technical Learning undertaken by all new entrants/promotes, e.g. Universal Credit Full Service Training
- Mandatory ‘5 days Development a Year’ learning undertaken by all Civil Servants
- The teaching of theory, e.g. online learning, simulation exercises, role playing, etc.
- Practical training e.g. shadowing, mentoring, face-to-face events, etc.
- Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments
- Lead roles outside of normal working duties, e.g. People Engagement Groups, Customer Insight forums, Digital Champions, etc.
Off-the-job training does not include:
- Functional Skills (English and Maths up to Level 2).
- Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard
- Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours
PCS are continuing to negotiate with the employer to achieve improvements to the Apprenticeship agreement and to ensure that our Apprentice members are protected in the workplace.
It is vital that Apprentices join the union to help PCS to negotiate for their interests in the workplace and to receive the support and protection that being part of a strong, campaigning union like PCS provides and for all Apprentices and Fixed-term members the first 6 months is free so join today and become part of the union fighting for you at work.