The collapse of Carillion is a sombre reminder that apprentices must, by law, be employees.

The government expects that when an apprentice loses their job, their college or training provider will support them to find work elsewhere to finish the course.

In fact, the funding rules permit a “break in learning” for a limited period for exactly this reason.

But, what’s different here is that Carillion was both the employer and the training provider holding the ESFA contract, in an arrangement known as an “employer provider”.

Carillion’s collapse means the apprentices are not only out of work, but their training provider no longer exists to help.

It’s reassuring to hear that on this occasion the CITB and some colleges are stepping in to help the apprentices find relevant employment.

But without the national media attention and pressure on government would the support be so readily forthcoming?

The government drive under the apprenticeship levy reforms has been to dramatically increase the number of employer providers (there are over 200 on the register of apprenticeship training providers).

How many more could fold so unexpectedly, leaving apprentices out of work AND without a training provider to support them?

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