Safeguarding Learners in the Workplace

National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week 2019 takes place 4 to 8 March 2019. This week is organised by the National Apprenticeship Service to acknowledge and celebrate apprenticeships and highlight the outstanding impact apprenticeships offer individuals and businesses.

Safeguarding Learners In The Workplace

In the academic year 2016-2017 there were 491,300 apprenticeship starts, nearly a quarter of whom were under 19. In this same year 97% of apprentices found that their ability to fulfil their role had improved, and 92% found that they experienced improved career prospects due to their apprenticeship.[1] These outstanding outcomes are a result of the hard work put in by mentors tasked with providing training, support and opportunities to these learners.

As mentioned above, a large number of these apprentices are 18 and under. While they may be venturing into their first “adult job” they are still young people, not yet adults. This means that any organisation educating young people under the age of 18 have statutory responsibilities under current legislation. In England, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ and ‘Working Together to Safeguarding Children’ provide comprehensive guidance on all aspects of safeguarding and child protection and in Wales statutory guidance is provided in the form of ‘Keeping Learners Safe’. Apprentices need to be safeguarded against the same range of risks and dangers as their peers in schools and colleges. Due to their relative inexperience in the workplace apprentices may be particularly vulnerable to anxiety or struggle to cope with the transition. Systems can help staff recognise this and offer suitable support to those who need it. Organisations offering any kind of apprenticeship or traineeship to young people need to put processes in place to protect their learners.

Best Practise With CITB

To find out what organisations can do to keep their learners safe, we looked at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and their safeguarding policies. CITB work alongside employers, encouraging training, and helping to build construction workforces that are safe, professional and fully qualified. They have an apprenticeship program (recently rated Outstanding by Ofsted[2]) and to date over half a million apprentices have completed training with CITB[3]. Because of this contact with young people CITB have put in place robust safeguarding policies to protect all those who work with and alongside them. You can find the full policy here.

Some Highlights Of CITB’s Safeguarding Policy Include:

  • Safe recruitment, selection and vetting procedures for appropriate staff
  • Listening to and respecting learners, and taking action when required
  • Protection from radicalisation
  • Risk assessments and safety suitability checks for all employers and training providers
  • Work in partnership with learners and with other agencies in promoting a safe learning environment
  • Promotion of British Values including democracy, equality, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • Recruiting staff safely to incorporate best practice guidance for safeguarding to be included in the recruitment and selection process
  • Sharing information about concerns with designated agencies and involving learners and their parents/carers appropriately
  • Apprenticeship Officers to offer guidance and counselling

Other Organisations Leading The Way With Safeguarding Apprentices

So much more is now known about safeguarding and the devastating effects that can occur when it is not tackled seriously. Because of this there are more and more organisations seeking to improve the way they handle the safety and wellbeing of their staff and learners.

A stellar example of this comes from the Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeship programme. The programme is committed to providing their learners with a safe learning environment where they can feel fully supported by staff around them.

To ensure this:

  • All staff receive regular Safeguarding and Prevent training
  • Specific Safeguarding and Prevent Officers are appointed who are equipped with a wealth of resources to offer those in need of support
  • DBS checks, Safeguarding and Prevent training is required from all key training and resourcing partners (including the hotels used for accommodation)
  • All learners are issued with a Welfare Card containing key welfare contact information
  • Concerns discussed with parents/carers before involving other trusted agencies unless doing so will bring harm to the learner

You can find their full safeguarding policy here.

Manchester Metropolitan University is also putting in place some thorough safeguarding policies to protect their apprentices. They have produced a PDF leaflet “Safeguarding: Keeping Apprentices Safe” which details their own approach to safeguarding as well as the duties that employers have towards the protection of young learners. This offers a whistle-stop tour of the different categories of abuse and other safeguarding concerns such as Prevent and British Values. It also highlights warning signs that staff can look out for as well as the designated contacts staff can reach out to, making sure that all staff and employers are well equipped to support learners and keep them safe from harm. You can find this here.

What Can You Do To Support Young Learners?

To find out how you could improve safeguarding for the young learners working with your organisation contact us to arrange a free no-obligation demonstration of our award-winning safeguarding software MyConcern.

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Sam Franklin

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