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Internship Training contract agreement. Need help before I’m forced to sign.


Hello all,

I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with this issue. I graduated University in 2015 and found a job working in a field that really looked like it was going to help me get into a career I would love. I applied for the job under the title 'Graphic Design Internship'. In this job description it was stated that the successful candidate would recieve 'Extensive training' and the Internship would last 12 months in total.

Initially, I began the work and took the training. This training was not extensive by any stretch, and measured a length of 3 days. I didn't feel sufficiently trained, but persevered as the job required me do other things whilst working here.

When I began the job, I was required to sign a contract for both my Internship (spanning 12 months) and a separate training contract (spanning 12 months) that stated if I were to leave within 12 months of signing, I would be liable to pay back the entirety of the training costs (£1170).

7 Months have gone by, and I have spoken to the manager about the fact that I don't feel I have been sufficiently trained to do my job. They have agreed to sort out more training for me over the next few weeks, but they have now come to me and asked me to sign another contract for 12 months, starting now. I do not want to sign this contract as it doesn't only bridge the initial contracts I have, but I feel that the 'extensive training' should be covered in the Internship. I appreciate that they have to cover themselves incase I leave, but seeing as the Internship was supposed to be provided with Training, surely they can't require me to sign a contract that extends past the end of my Internship, can they?

I am being paid for the Internship, but my query is, am I allowed to refuse this contract? I would feel much happier, signing a completely new agreement, combining the training costs, that comes to an end when the initial Internship ends.

I hope I have explained my situation clearly, and I really hope someone can help me. 

Thank you.

2 Responses

  1. Hi DizzyJK; this issue is one
    Hi DizzyJK; this issue is one that I’ve seen time and again and it’s not one limited to Internships. The question of how enforceable it is to insist on paying back training costs after you leave. The first thing I would say is just have a conversation with ‘them’ as it may just be an admin error from a standard letter. Just double-check to see if they could amend it to the end of your internship.
    Secondly, it is only usual to ask to pay back training costs if you have attended ‘formal’ training courses; from what you say here it looks like they are asking you to pay back something for the training you might just get on the job which is unusual.
    If it is a training course which gives you a general set of skills/accreditation that are transferable elsewhere that’s fair play but if they are asking you to pay back for general training support they deliver on the job, just so that you can do the job, that’s not right.
    As I’ve posted before, it’s about sitting down and politely asking the questions. Have a honest conversation about it and checking whether it is just an admin error. Also, it’s kind of a moot point if they try to reclaim it from you after you leave. The amount is relatively small; are they really going to be chasing you for it?

  2. From Andrew in our LinkedIn
    From Andrew in our LinkedIn group:

    “This issue always hits a chord with me.

    To paraphrase Richard Branson, train your people so they are ready to leave, and manage them so they don’t have any reason to do so.

    The fear of losing those in whom investment has been made is an inhibition to developing and true talent managment.

    When all is said and done, there is a lot more said about talent management than is done.”


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