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Take care over the job title when hiring an apprentice

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Employers who hire apprentices should be aware of a change in the law that will make it a criminal offence to advertise work as a statutory apprenticeship if that's not what the work actually is.

I highlighted this change in the recent employment law round-up but the new law is worth flagging up in more detail to raise awareness of the consequences of breach. Here are the key points:

  • Section 25 of the Enterprise Act 2016 (EA16) creates an offence where, in the course of a business, a person providing or offering a course or training undertaken or to be undertaken in England describes it as an apprenticeship if it is not a statutory apprenticeship.
  • It is also an offence to describe a person who undertakes a non-statutory apprenticeship course or training as an "apprentice".
  • Directors can be convicted of the offence too. Where the offence is committed by a body corporate, an officer of the body corporate also commits the offence if it is committed with their consent, connivance or is attributable to their neglect. This provision forms part of the law of England and Wales but applies to England only.
  • Breach of the law amounts to a summary offence and conviction can be penalised with a fine.

The government's reasons for introducing this law are clear: they want to maintain the reputation and quality of the apprenticeship scheme and to encourage employers to invest in the training. The new law will also protect the term "apprenticeship" from being misused and make sure that training providers offering low quality courses do not describe them as statutory apprenticeship courses if they do not meet the requirements.

The new law comes into force on 1 April 2017. If you are recruiting – check your job adverts to ensure they are accurate and comply with the EA16.


To discuss apprenticeships, contact Susan Mayall on 0161 684 6948 or make an enquiry.

Further reading

Section 25 of the Enterprise Act 2016

The enabling regulation that brings section 25 into force

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Susan Mayall


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