Employers’ duties to facilitate training of school leavers under 18
Employers will face requirements to cooperate with school leavers under 18 that they employ, to allow them to fulfil their new duty to participate in education or training, under the provisions of the Education and Skills Act 2008, which received Royal Assent on 26 November 2008.
The Act will institute a new duty to participate in education or training, which will apply to those resident in England who have ceased to be of compulsory school age, and are under 18, and have not attained a ‘level 3 qualification’ (a qualification which, in the Government’s opinion, represents the same level of attainment, in terms of breadth and depth, as gaining two ‘A’ levels).
The duty requires such individuals to do one of three things: (i) participate in appropriate full-time education or training; (ii) participate in training under a contract of apprenticeship, or (iii) participate in ‘sufficient’ relevant training or education whilst in ‘full-time occupation’ (i.e. working under a contract of at least 8 weeks’ duration, involving at least 20 hours work per week). For those in full-time occupation, training or education will be deemed ‘sufficient’ if it involves 280 hours of guided learning per year.
Employers will have a role to play in relation to this new duty where a relevant 16- or 17-year-old applies to them for employment, or is already in their employment when the duty comes into force. Employers will be required to check, before agreeing to employ him or her, that any relevant 16- or 17-year-old new recruit has made appropriate arrangements for training or education and allow such individuals, once they have been taken on, to participate in the appropriate training or education which they have arranged.
The requirements will come into force by the school leaving date for 2013, in relation to those within the first year of ceasing to be of compulsory school age and by the school leaving date for 2015, in relation to all those beyond compulsory school age, but still under 18.