Apprentices in the Home Office have received a significant financial pay-out thanks to PCS campaigning.
Last December the government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) abruptly terminated an agreement with the Home Office apprentices’ training provider.
The ESFA removed Premier Partnership from the register of approved training providers, after Premier received a damning Ofsted report, a decision which affected over 650 apprentices. This included 100-plus Home Office apprentices, who were left in limbo whilst a new training provider was sought.
Unable to complete their apprenticeships, these workers remained on an apprenticeship wage below the minimum for the grade of work they were apprenticed to.
PCS spent months campaigning to rectify the situation, and as a result, in April the Home Office wrote to all affected individuals who were still apprentices to say they would be converted onto permanent employment contracts, with the date of implementation – and associated pay increase – backdated to 13 December 2018 (the date the Premier contract was terminated).
It has made a big difference to the apprentices.
Darren Hillier, an apprentice in the Passport Office and a PCS rep, says: “The only place I could turn to for help was PCS. They were brilliant at giving me support and advice.
“The union took our concerns seriously, especially our lead negotiator who was brilliant as a point of contact whilst the situation with Premier Partnership and the Home Office was going on.”
The PCS group is continuing to press the department for a similar deal for those affected individuals who were promoted to permanent posts prior to the Home Office announcement in April.
PCS lead negotiator Neil Masters says, “There’ve been a lot of problems with the Home Office apprenticeship schemes. However we’re now making headway and have developed a constructive relationship with the current employer Apprenticeship Team.
“This achievement shows the importance of all civil service apprentices joining PCS, and becoming part of a strong, campaigning union”.