The Department for Education has confirmed that apprentices caught up in the collapse of Carillion will still be paid while they are seeking alternative employment.
The announcement comes after skills minister Anne Milton said yesterday that apprentices would only be paid until the end of January in a written response to a question from shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.
A DfE spokeswoman said: “At present, all former Carillion apprentices will continue to be paid while alternative employers are being sought.”
Amounts to a 'u-turn'
She added: “We have taken steps to protect learners by transferring the training of all Carillion apprentices to the Construction Industry Training Board. CITB has already secured new employment, with wages, for over half of the apprentices and is working around the clock to find alternative employers for the others.”
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner MP, said it amounted to a u-turn, but welcomed the decision.
She added: “If the government has finally caved in to pressure from Labour and trade unions and agreed to continue paying the Carillion apprentices, that is welcome news for hundreds of people who had been left to face the prospect of their wages drying up by the end of the week. I hope that this is the final u-turn and that this time they stick to their promises.
Future still unclear for apprentices
“The apprentices have done nothing but work hard for jobs and qualifications, yet they have faced the threat of being abandoned without pay, work or continued training. Ministers have caused them unnecessary fear and uncertainty by failing to give clear and simple guarantees.
"Even now, it is not clear that every Carillion apprentice has been contacted. The government must ensure that they are all able to complete their training and get the skills that both they and the wider economy need.”
Unions condemned yesterday’s announcement as "simply not good enough”, with the GMB’s national officer, Rehana Azam, saying that the government's response to the Carillion crisis was "inadequate and inept”.