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2 year post qualification required employment

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Hi there,

I have a contract employment. My employer wants to put me on a training agreement as an apprentice for 3 years.


Within the training agreement they have stated ‘I need to be employed by them for 2 years following the end of apprenticeship’. Without any detail in regards to pay, consequences, conditions.


Where do I / they stand legally with this? 

Thank you in advance. 


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Hello and welcome to CAG.


I'm not clear if you're an apprentice from outset or if you've been with this employer prior to the apprentice contract starting. Could you tell us a bit more please?


Normally an apprentice would have a college involved, do you?


Best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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Hi HB, 


I started my employment as a standard employee with a normal contract. 


I am Qualified to an extent but they want me to further my studies, and they can see i am eligible to be apprentice so they have opted to put me down as a apprentice so they get their funding.

I am required to do 20% off the job, so yes college will be required during work hours, so they stay in line with the apprenticeship rules. 


They have given me a Training Agreement, where they have put that line in to say ' once you do your training you need to be employed by us for another 2 years'. As brief as that without any further details.

The actual wording is 'Post Qualification - need to be employed by X for at least 2 years after qualification has been completed'.


Thank you in advance.


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Are you sure that is all it says?  They cannot literally just make you work for them for two years.


Are they actually saying that if you don't work for them for two years after you have finished the apprenticeship, then you will have to pay back to them certain expenses they have incurred on your apprenticeship during your apprenticeship?


"The actual wording is 'Post Qualification - need to be employed by X for at least 2 years after qualification has been completed'. " is meaningless.  You need to be employed for two years... or what?


Having said that, I know nothing about how apprenticeships work - but what you are saying doesn't make sense to me.  If they are trying to say that you will need to pay back any training costs if you leave within two years, my understanding is that that needs to be explicitly agreed by you in writing.  What you've written says nothing about paying anything back - or have you left that bit out?

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Hi there, 


Yes, that is all they have provided me with. They have used a standardised Training Agreement from the professional Body that I intend to study that lists the terms on Re-sitting exams, how many attempts are funded etc. 


Then they randomly added that one line in to the agreement. 


They have confirmed as it is an apprenticeship they cannot claw back any fees, that was confirmed verbally. 


Are they actually saying that if you don't work for them for two years after you have finished the apprenticeship, then you will have to pay back to them certain expenses they have incurred on your apprenticeship during your apprenticeship?


What they are saying is that, in order for me to start my apprenticeship I must commit to two further years of employment with them, post apprenticeship. And that the apprenticeship offer is on the basis I work for them 2 years post qualification. 


I have had others mention that although they cannot claw back Training fees they may be able to do me on "breach of contract" if i was to sign it as it stands, and leave in say year 4 (one year post apprenticehsip).




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I'm no expert in employment law, but if you left one year after your apprenticeship was completed, what would they sue you for?  You may be in breach of contract but what loss would your employer be suffering from that breach to sue you for?


I'm not even sure they can sue you for breach of contract.  They can't make you work for them for two years.  Are they going to say you have to give them two years notice?  I can't see any court saying that was reasonable.  (But I may well be wrong).


What's the usual contractual position for someone in your situation?  Does no-one at your college know?  As I say, I'm no expert on employment law (and know even less about apprenticeships) so see what others here say and don't just rely on me.


You talk about a "profession" rather than a "trade".  Can you say what profession you are talking about?  Professions usually have some sort of trainee rather than "apprentices" and what your employer is trying to do doesn't sound like what a firm in one of the professions would be doing.  (Or if they are in the professions they probably know what they're talking about).

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The only loss would be the loss of Revenue.


I have only received the text that I mentioned above. 


Usually with apprenticeships the agreement is for the Apprenticeship term, the Employer is not obligated to employ you afterwards. Where as in my Situation they are asking me to commit before i accept the apprenticeship offer.   


Normally, the firm would pay for time off at work to study, take exams etc. But under an Apprenticeship its 100% funded excluding Exam fees, but they legally cannot claw back any fees, which they have told me verbally..


Thinking about it more, I have no idea on the consequence if I was to breach the 2 years. And feel that its too ambiguous to put my name too, as they could even keep my pay rate the same for those 5 years, with no grantees of career progression. 


I'm going to speak to them today, and say I cannot agree to 5 years, as the period of time is too long. Even with guarantees, I can't be certain now of what I want in 3-5 years.  

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8 hours ago, Chelsea97 said:

The only loss would be the loss of Revenue.




Not sure what you mean by they would lose revenue?  How would they?


Let's look at perhaps a "typical" breach of contract by an employee.  Let's say your notice period is four weeks and you get paid £100 per week.  Let's say you give one weeks notice only, and you leave at the end of that week.  You are therefore in breach of your contract.  If your employer replaces you with someone who they pay £150 per week, their loss is the difference between your pay and your replacement's pay, multiplied by the number of weeks notice you didn't give (ie £50 x 3 weeks = £150).  So in theory, your former employer could sue you for £150.


But if your employer employs a replacement at the same - or lower - rate than you (or doesn't replace you at all), they haven't suffered any loss to sue you for.  (Remember - they don't have to pay you for the three weeks you aren't working for).


Do you follow?  (Obviously it may not be that simple because the employer may incur costs in finding your replacement or may lose some income specific personally to you, but that's the general principle).


I'm not sure I understand how your employer would lose any revenue as a result of you leaving after your apprenticeship has finished?  If you leave they just replace you and pay them what they would have paid you - so they've not suffered a loss.  You need to ask yourself what losses your employer would suffer if you left within two years.  What loss would they suffer if you got run over by a bus one day after finishing your apprenticeship?  Either they'd replace you or they wouldn't.


So long as you comply with any contractual notice period, I'm not sure you have a problem.  (But like I say, I'm no expert - see what others say.  Are you in a trade union, do you have an apprenticeship tutor at college, can the body you are training for advise on this matter?)


Of course, what might be an issue is if they aren't very happy with you.  What if you need a reference from them?






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