Fair Work in modern and graduate apprenticeships

We commissioned this research to explore opportunities to embed Fair Work First principles in the modern and graduate apprenticeship offer in Scotland.


1. Fair Work Action Plan (2019). Scottish Government: Edinburgh (see https://www.gov.scot/publications/fair-work-action-plan/).

2. Fair Work Framework (2016). Fair Work Convention. APS Group: Edinburgh.

3. Fair Work First: guidance to support implementation (2021) Available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fair-work-first-guidance-support-implementation/

4. MAs allow workers to gain industry-recognised qualifications and employers to develop their workforce through training new staff and upskilling existing employees. MAs are administered by SDS on behalf of The Scottish Government with employers receiving a funding contribution for training. There are over 80 MA frameworks covering a range of industries developed by Skills Sector Councils (SSC's) and other industry-led bodies.

5. GAs are industry-recognised, degree-level work-based programmes offered in key sectors that require skilled employees. Gas are delivered through partnerships of universities and employers and combines academic and work-based skills development. Unlike MAs where the cost of training is not fully publicly funded, GA formal training is fully funded by The Scottish Government.

6. SDS data provided a range of key information on apprentices under a data sharing agreement, that supported the identification and purposive recruitment of employers and apprentices. Contacts were used to identify appropriate employer representatives (e.g. those in roles in HR and in Learning & Development in larger and medium-sized organisations, and owners and senior managers in smaller companies and micro employers). Employers were also identified via publicly available information on members of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board's Employer Engagement Group.

7. All employers in Glasgow were large and GAs were recruited from this area to reflect their greater proportion among these employers.

8. The population of MAs are more numerous than GAs by about 2:1 and this was reflected in our research design and recruitment.

9. A Scottish Government initiative, delivered by SDS, offering inter-agency advice, help and support to employers facing redundancy situations.

10. This Scottish Government initiative, managed by SDS, offers employers £5000 for recruiting an apprentice who has been made redundant by their employer.

11. The ambition of the Young Person's Guarantee is that every 16-24 year old in Scotland will have the opportunity of a job, placement, training or volunteering. This includes opportunities of an apprenticeship and 'fair employment' including work experience. The Young Person's Guarantee is one of the main recommendations made by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery from Covid-19, established by the Scottish Government. https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/youngpersonsguarantee

12. UNISON and SDS are currently piloting a fair work awareness session for senior phase pupils, which could be extended nationally in the new school year in August 2021.

13. Scottish Government (2021) Fair Work First: guidance to support implementation. Available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fair-work-first-guidance-support-implementation/

14. For example, the Apprentice Pay Survey (2018/2019) shows that the vast majority of Level 2/3 modern apprentices (82%) were paid at or above the NMW and National Living Wage (NLW) rates. Nearly 60% were paid more than the NLW. In other words, it is not uncommon, unusual or rare for apprentices to be paid above the existing age-related training rates. On these figures, employer compliance on pay is already currently very high among modern and graduate apprenticeship employers. The RLW is voluntary for employers and applies to every employee over 18. The current RLW is £9.50 per hour.

15. Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2018/19 - Scotland BEIS Research Paper Number 2020/001. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/857211/aps-2018-19-scotland-report.pdf

16. For information on the Access to Work scheme, see https://inclusionscotland.org/what-we-do/employability-and-civic-participation/employability/employability-guide-menu/access-to-work)

17. Implementation of Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurement: SPPN 3/2021. Available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/implementation-of-fair-work-first-in-scottish-public-procurement-sppn-3-2021/

18. Behling, F and Speckesser, S (2013) An impact analysis of the introduction of the Apprentice Rate of the National Minimum Wage: A research paper to the Low Pay Commission for the preparation of its 2013 report. Available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/226951/National_minimum_wage_apprentice_rate_impact_anaylsis.pdf


Email: Scotland-Apprenticeship-Family@gov.scot

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