Workers’ representatives in enterprises

Workers’ representatives in enterprises are responsible for

  • Representing the interests of apprentices in the running of the Quality Apprenticeship systems at the enterprise level and, in particular, ensuring appropriate working and training conditions (e.g. with regard to occupational safety and health, wages and allowances and working hours) for apprentices;
  • Preventing exploitative practices under the guise of training;
  • Providing apprentices with advice for training activities, in those enterprises that have Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) and/or works councillors.

As presented by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, Union learning representatives (ULRs) in the United Kingdom may have a significant role to play, particularly in terms of policy implementation (box 18).

Box 3: Union learning representatives: What do they do? – United Kingdom

ULRs are the driving force behind union learning and are instrumental in helping to identify and deliver learning opportunities for union members, representatives and other professionals. They raise awareness of the value of lifelong learning, particularly for people who have had limited access to education in the past.

The role doesn't end with recruiting new members, and getting them involved in union learning or pairing them up with potential education providers. ULRs also support them throughout their learning programme, and represent them or negotiate on their behalf on all manner of learning issues.

ULRs are recognised as union representatives and have the same statutory rights as other union reps. They are allowed reasonable time off to train and perform their duties, and have protection against unfair dismissal on grounds of their ULR work (ACAS, 2013).