27 June, 2018

Graduates Should Not Be Penalised by Paying Thousands of Pounds for Their Training Schemes If They Leave Early



Paid graduate trainee schemes with a resultant guaranteed job in small or SME driven businesses are becoming more and more attractive to today’s freshly graduated workforce. However, graduates need to pay heed to the old ruling of ‘all that glistens is not gold’.

Jolyon Maughan QC of the Good Law Project has brought the status of what amounts to “indentured labour” into the headlines as he prepares to bring a claim to ban the practice of charging graduates thousands of pounds via a training repayment clause if they leave their job before an agreed period of employment. Mr Maugham’s team is attempting to raise £50,000 via the crowdfunding site CrowdJustice to support the case. 

Nadia McKay, Testing Services Director who provides the ‘people focus’ at Edge Testing Solutions, a firm that runs an award winning paid graduate trainee scheme which guarantees a job from day one and promotes trainees up the career ladder at the end of two years, has commented on the situation:

“Graduates have it tough today with student loans, high rents and low minimum wage, but being charged over twenty thousand for what is tantamount to non-refundable training fees is certainly unacceptable."

Some graduate schemes consist of unpaid training followed by unpaid work experience. One graduate commented “Unpaid training is truly horrible. Three months unpaid training followed by three months unpaid waiting for jobs can seriously affect your mental health. 

Nadia continued: "Technical graduates are in short supply and should be valued highly. Graduates joining Edge are paid well above the minimum wage throughout their training and are permanent Edge employees from day one. In addition, they receive employee benefits and are guaranteed a job which can span across a number of different industries and test-driven IT disciplines."

Unfortunately, some larger technology consultancy firms offering graduate training schemes often consist of poor quality training which is wholly based on self-learning whereby graduates are endlessly reading academic text-books or doing online courses. This certainly doesn’t justify over £20,000 in training costs which these companies try and reclaim back off the graduate if they want to leave before the scheme is up.

Nadia continued: "Our Edge Academy is a learning program that combines hands on experience with excellent quality classroom-based software testing training at Edge’s UK office locations.

Taking on too many graduates is also a problem with some company graduate schemes, especially if the projects are simply unavailable to work on. Intake of graduate trainees should be carefully monitored based on ‘supply and demand’ so that graduates aren’t waiting for jobs at the end of the training. This also ensures that graduates can be placed in roles which provide opportunities for career progression and job satisfaction. 

Joining a graduate scheme shouldn’t be a burden, so it is essential for graduates to thoroughly investigate feedback on employers and read the contract of employment very carefully. When applying, consider level of responsibility, opportunities for career progression, the company’s culture and growth prospects as they are just as important as salary, training and benefits. 

Graduate roles within smaller companies are a great alternative to the larger corporate graduate schemes – within a smaller team your voice can really be heard and new graduates can expect to quickly put their skills to good use, gain responsibility early-on and progress fast.”

Edge, who undertakes regular Employee Satisfaction Surveys to help them continue to be the employer of choice, were recently awarded Gold Status in the Investors in Young People Award.


To read the article which was published on BIP Online, CLICK HERE



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