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Seb Anthony

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apprenticeships – “golden handcuffs”


We have a large number of apprentices currently being trained, however we cannot compete with the wages they are able to attract with other companies after they complete their apprenticeship, so we are losing our 'shining stars'.

I am keen to gather any advice and / or experiences of other organisations in keeping apprentices post qualification.

We offer good terms and conditions, but, the 'wage' isn't comparable with other construction companies out there. Any suggestions? Any help? Any advice?


Ian Stone

3 Responses

  1. Slippery slope
    These “golden handcuffs” agreements are monsters. However well-meaning the employer, they place the “apprentice” in the position of indentured servant.

    It can be done successfully: this is the model used by the military. However, experience suggests that private industry too often ends up abusing people who have no recourse because of their “contract”. Even if the company management does their best, you have to deal with lower-level supervisors intimidating staff.

    I’d go back and look again at the arithmetic that says it pays to train people, but not keep them as employees. There’s room for creativity here and a closer look at what makes people stay at one firm rather than another.

  2. Apprentice reward

    You could look at what benefits you offer to the young people and offer them what would be advantageous to them rather than focus on pay eg loans for cars, help getting on the housing ladder. Why not do a survey to find out what they would like then see if your company can afford to offer some or all of their suggestions.

    Sandra Beale

  3. Enough food on the table
    There have been many studies over the years that show employees stay becuase they are satisfied with the whole package. So long as a human has enough cash to satisfy their food and shelter needs they worry about other things.

    I worked for a comapny 10 years ago that was considewed the University of it’s Industry sector, it paid less, but it trained well. This philosophy worked well until the Senior Execs in the USA came over with a scythe and did a big hatchet job. So all the good will in the remaining workforce was destroyed, and the only reason anyone ever went to work for this company was to get trained and then go find a better job.

    So if you are offering a good package that should be what you want the apprentices to engage with.

    Also with Golden Handcuffs, if you make them stay they will under perform and then when you review them you end up dismissing them, so you undo the handcuffs for them anyway, and you ended up paying them to be miserable for a few months. Not a good business proposition.

    if they enjoyed working for your company, no matter where they move to they will always be ambassadors for you.


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