Morrisons “undervaluing” apprentice scheme
NEARLY four in 10 of the workforce of major supermarket chain Morrisons are now classed as apprentices, it is claimed today.
More than 10 per cent of all apprenticeships created in England last year were with the chain, according to tonight’s BBC Panorama.
The programme carries criticism of the retail apprenticeship, saying that last year it took an average of just six months to complete.
Charlie Mullins, founder of independent plumbing company Pimlico Plumbers, employs 18 apprentices out of a staff of 200, and their training takes a minimum of three years.
He said of short retail apprenticeships: “I think all they’re really doing is undervaluing the word apprentice, and they’ve really just seen a loophole in the system that they can claim money on it.”
Nick Linford, editor of the publication FE Week, said: “We’ve seen record growth in apprenticeships. Big headline numbers look great on paper but scratch under the surface and maybe we shouldn’t be calling them all apprenticeships.”
Elmfield Training, the private company that accredits Morrisons’ apprentices, has a government contract worth £37 million, Panorama said.
Norman Pickavance, group HR director at Morrisons, defended the high number of apprentices, telling the programme: “Forty per cent of people are trying to get a basic qualification. People who leave school without a qualification often feel that they don’t have access and don’t see the kind of skilled jobs or managerial positions as something they can aspire to.”
Panorama: The Great Apprentice Scandal is on BBC One tonight at 8.30pm.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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