The Cabinet Office has confirmed there are no threats to employment or job security following the termination of Premier Partnership’s contract to provide training.
Last month, the Education and Skills Funding Agency gave notice to Premier Partnership that it would be terminating its contract to deliver apprenticeships on 12 December 2018, following a highly critical report on its performance. Since then, PCS has sought clarity and reassurance about job security and the continuation of quality-assured apprenticeships on behalf of all affected apprentices, many of whom are PCS members.
PCS met with the Cabinet Office and departmental management earlier this week. We received clear assurances that there is no threat to any apprentice’s employment or job security from the termination of Premier Partnership's contract.
However, the situation is complicated by the fact that there are two groups of apprentices affected, and the processes for resolving the issue of future training provision are different. The Cabinet Office contract with Premier covers some 650 apprentices working mainly in DWP, HMRC and Home Office, and undertaking level 3 operational delivery apprenticeships, funded by the government's "apprenticeship levy". PCS has been informed that management have identified a new training provider for these apprentices, and are currently finalising the details of the changeover. They have assured PCS that all apprentices will continue their training with the new provider, and hope to be able to provide full details early next week.
PCS has stressed that as the Premier Partnership contract ends on 12 December it is essential that this is resolved urgently.
Premier Partnership also continues to hold commercial contracts with government departments, again mainly DWP, HMRC and Home Office, to provide training for hundreds of other apprentices, also on level 3 operational delivery apprenticeships, most of whose apprenticeships will have started before the beginning of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, or who are based in the devolved nations. The Cabinet Office and departmental management have told PCS they are not yet in a position to decide whether they will continue with their contracts with Premier Partnership. PCS is continuing to press for clarity and assurances for these apprentices.
The Cabinet Office and departmental leads in DWP, Home Office and HMRC have committed to keeping PCS updated. In the meantime, if you are an apprentice who receives a different message from your employer to that above, please contact your local union learning rep (ULR) or your PCS departmental lead – see below.
DWP – Steve Swainton at email@example.com
HMRC – Hector Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Office – Neil Masters at Neil.Masters7@homeoffice.gov.uk
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