Carillion Collapse: Ministers Perform U-Turn On Apprenticeship Wages

Government 'caved to pressure', says Angela Rayner.
PA Wire/PA Images

The Government has performed a U-turn and vowed Carillion apprentices will continue to be paid beyond January, according to reports.

HuffPost UK revealed how the Official Receiver only planned to pay apprentices cut adrift by the bankrupt outsourcing giant until the end of January.

But the Government has now “caved to pressure” and confirmed they will pay apprentices until they find a new placement.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said they must now stick to their promises.

A Department for Education spokesman has said placements had been found for around half of the 1,400 apprentices trained by Carillion.

Ministers were working round the clock to secure the rest and said “all former Carillion apprentices will continue to be paid while alternative employers are being sought.”

Carillion, which was the UK’s largest construction trainer, went bankrupt earlier this month, leaving behind £5bn of liabilities, just £29m in cash and a long list of unfinished public works.

It had a £6.5m public contract to train apprentices. When the firm collapsed, apprentices told HuffPost UK how they were kept in the dark about their pay.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner
LINDSEY PARNABY via Getty Images

The DfE spokesman said: “We have taken steps to protect learners by transferring the training of all Carillion apprentices to the Construction Industry Training Board.”

Rayner said some apprentices still have not been contacted, however.

She said: “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. We hope that this is the final u-turn and this time they stick to their promises.

“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. It is a shame that Ministers have created such 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.”

Rehana Azam, National Secretary of the GMB union, added: “GMB welcomes this u-turn by the Government.

“It seems ministers suddenly remembered their duty of care to these young people.

“As ever, the devil is in the detail and GMB will monitor the situation closely.”


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