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Dealing with a Bad Employer

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 21 Mar 2024 | comments*Discuss
Dealing With A Bad Employer

As an apprentice you are always hoping to get a great job and be given good training. In the majority of cases this will happen but unfortunately, sometimes you will come across a bad employer.

Whether it is the training, the pay or your line manager it is always worth trying to talk to your boss about it. If he isn’t receptive then their other places to go to seek support.

Poor Training

One of the main components of a job as an apprentice is the opportunity to receive on the job training. Most employers should have worked on the scheme so that you are on a structured programme and it complements your study and everyday duties.

If you find this isn’t the case then you need to talk to your boss about it. Make a list of what is wrong with the training and be able to give practical and realistic suggestions about how it could be changes.

People Problems

If the training is going well and the job is good but the people you are working with aren’t helping you, then you will still struggle. Whether it is a colleague who you feel is limiting you or a line manager who is poor then, again, you need to talk to your boss. Have concrete examples of what is going on and how it has affected you. As an apprentice, your colleagues and manager should be helping you progress in the company and not holding you back.

Benefits and Pay

As an apprentice you are entitled to the same benefits as other employees. Before starting, you will agree a salary with your boss and this should be paid to you on a regular basis. You are also entitled to holidays and time off for study.

If your boss is denying you any of these things then they are acting unlawfully and you have every right to make them change their ways. Make a formal complaint about the situation within you company and if they still don’t do anything then you may have to seek help elsewhere.

Seeking Support

If the problems that you are having with your employer cannot be sorted out within the company then you may need to seek support elsewhere. Try talking to your college tutor who may be able to liaise with your boss and try to sort out the problem.

If you have joined union within your industry then they are a great source of advice and support. Also, talk to your jobcentre who will be able to provide specific advice for apprentices.

Having a bad employer is not a great start to life as an apprentice but don’t feel that you have to put up with it. Whether it is a poor training scheme, a bad manager or difficulty claiming your pay or benefits, you need to approach you boss.

Make sure you can be clear about what is wrong and what could be done to address it. If they are still no help then consider going elsewhere to seek support and advice.

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Hi, my daughter is 18 months in her menhanics apprenticeship, the garage she works in is a toxic environment, there has been 20 staff leave, including 3 managers, the current one is temporary.The equipment is old and broken, has had 2 mentors but now got a constant one. She gets no encouragement or given jobs to learn and has become unbearable for her.She has reported to her coach and been referred to his manager and college aware but will not move her or listen to her. She been told that lacks confidence because of her personal life and not because they nit supported her. Its affecting her wellbeing and she cannot see a way out
Worriedmum - 21-Mar-24 @ 1:50 PM
My daughter is in her 1 st year of hairdressing. I thought they should only work 40hrs! Hob keep them late with no extra pay. They even made the girls put all their December tips in a collection pot which they said they would share out between the girls after Christmas. We are now April and this has not been done. Shocking treatment by hob!
MrsC - 15-Apr-21 @ 10:36 PM
Hi my granddaughter is in her 3rd year of her hairdressing apprenticeship..She has a great work ethic and very popular with customer..Her boss is an absolute ogre and numerous customer have commented on the way boss speaks to her..Customers even contacted her out with work to try to support her..She works extra hours constantly but has never had any extra payment. It is a massive inconvenience for her to get a day of never mind two weeks holiday. She is scared to speak up in case she loses her job..Where could she go to find out the law because I am positive it is illegal the way she is treated.
Loraac - 12-Apr-21 @ 7:06 PM
My son applied for a bricklaying apprenticeship, he was told to meet the man. When he did he was taken to a Boris home building site,he done half an hour block work and then labour all day, he was told to sign paper work stating he could use tools he couldn't use!! This man advertised on gov.UK and is using young men to labour not teaching a bricklaying apprenticeship at all. At the end of the day after working my son like a dog he told h he had to be self employed!! How is this man still being government funded??
Ronnie - 7-Nov-19 @ 3:20 PM
My son is in a situation he is in a apprenticeship he’s done 9 months only as 3 months left to complete is qualification but the boss as been treating him terrible as spoken to everyone now it’s gone to HR what can my son do
Steph - 20-Aug-19 @ 9:20 PM
I was employed as an apprentice in may however I still haven't started the work but I am being paid an apprentice wage? This doesn't seem right to me and I'm worried about how to approach the matter as I really don't want to risk losing my position
Ab - 30-Jul-19 @ 7:53 AM
My son has finished his 2 year TICA apprenticeship and is now working his 2 year time serve with the same company. They treat him really badly. Can he go elsewhere and do the 2 years time serve and receive his full qualification? Even if the company he moves to has no link to TICA?
Annoyed - 28-Jan-19 @ 5:16 PM
What help can I get in my apprenticeship. I have being passing exams and work performance is excellent, but a formal complaint has being made against me from not just one but a group of other apprentices who over the course of the apprenticeship have taken a dislike to me for unknown reasons.
Janey - 5-Dec-18 @ 3:41 PM
I landed myself a degree apprenticeship with one of the largest tech companies in the world as a "Data Analyst" about a year ago (Not bragging just giving some context). I'm about a year in and seriously regret choosing this company over others that I had offers from. The situation at work had been that for a year my manage was unable to give me pretty much any work as our Data Analytic work get's outsourced/comes from Corp. This meaning my portfolio had some work but neccesserily related to my title. I had flagged this up with the previous HR apprentice lead numerous times however nothing really changed from it. 1 year in we have a new lead who has basically said whoever set the scheme up previously had no clue what they were doing as my job role does not match the course as the company will not be able to give me the work that I need to qualify (Data Warehousing etc..) They have presented me with two options at this point 1 being going back to a level 3 business admin... (I said no straight up, politely ofcourse) as I have those grades/qualifcations already. With the second option being them moving me to a partner to complete my course (they will deal with that transition) Do I have a right to ask ask that they start the course from scratch as the first year was not relevant at all.
Raja - 20-Sep-18 @ 12:46 AM
My son was taken on to do a year admin apprentiship and it turned out he was taken on to cover maternity leave 9 months in , he has been told that the person is coming back from maternity leave and therefore there is no job for him once his spprentiship ends
Crissy - 1-Oct-17 @ 2:16 PM
Taji - Your Question:
I needed some help, I was on an apprenticeship programme and I didn't like my boss! She treated me unfairly and I wanted to make a complaint against her, where do I start? I don't want to talk to her.

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know.
AnApprenticeship - 25-Aug-17 @ 3:03 PM
I needed some help, I was on an apprenticeship programme and I didn't like my boss! She treated me unfairly and I wanted to make a complaint against her, where do I start? I don't want to talk to her.
Taji - 18-Aug-17 @ 9:21 PM
Hi, My son is currently doing a 3 year apprenticeship. He is in his 2nd year, and attends block release every 6-8 weeks. At first it was great, he was treated well and really enjoyed it. However, he has a new manager. The manager cancelled my son's holiday, saying that they needed everyone at work (it's a big firm with lots of workers (Motor industry)) My son then tried to book another holiday and was told he couldn't have that either. He was then told the only time he could have holiday and this was months away. Is the employer allowed to tell him when he can/cannot have holidays when it seemed like everyone else was able to have the time he had originally requested off? Also, he is doing a level 2 course. they have just taken on a level 3 (in his first year) and are leaving my son to teach this new apprentice. My son is feeling like he is not being taught anything new and leftdoing continuous servicing and teaching the new lad, who by the way is earning more than him because he is doing level 3!. I have told him to talk to his boss, but he feels that it is the boss who causing these issues, and he has also described numerous underlying 'bullying' incidents (silly things like the boss will buy coffees for everyone except my son, a group of them had arranged to go to an event, but the boss told him he couldn't then go because they needed people at work, however then arranged to go himself AND make snide comments like "I bet you wish you could go: it's going to be so much fun". This is really making my son want to quit, but feels he cannot talk to anyone as it is the management who are the problem, and also he believes he will need to pay back the course funds and wages he has been paid so far. He feels trapped. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks
Minstrel - 14-Dec-16 @ 11:52 AM
@Zoe - this is a bit too long and complicated to be able to answer via this site, I suggest you give the National Apprenticeship helpline a call via the link here. I hope this helps.
AnApprenticeship - 18-Mar-15 @ 3:01 PM
My son in 3rd year app. Plastering. He works for boss boss also pays 3/4 other self employed guys up to dec every thing was great then boss went holiday 3 wks son went bk to work boss got job in London my son agreed to go long as he paid wages owed before went this did not hap so my son was 450 miles away from home with very lit money boss normally buys food for him when working away he was told be away for a week. My son did bulk of the work a hospital In west London worked 12 hour days for 9 full days he asked for some pay that he already owed his boss said only way if posted cheq bk home for me to bank which still left him without as would not clear. His boss was in bad mood all time was pulled on his bad work my son did his best to talk to other people on the job to ease the situation his boss took off few times to the pub. My son said he was coming home Friday as no money totally shattered work 12 hours 9 days very little food his boss wasn't happy but agreed to bring them home if returned after wkend off. Son got text mes sun saying not taking you taking somebody else sacked my son saying didn't want you 3rd year anyway. Gave son abuse over the phone my son tried ringing five times asking why done this unfair he just says my son ungreatful c@@t!! His boss then started saying had no work. My son spoke to others that work for him they were all working even taken somebody else on its had Hugh impact on my son he worked hard for 2half years earning daily rate £150 day for his boss only pay my son £140 week never paid him full pay for holidays my son never had time off or been late. I've contacted Acas waiting for 2nd call to resolve but cannot be resolved his boss is drink dependant not easy to talk to treated my son so badly ive known this man 15 years hes nasty fella my son fell from scaffold last Aug didnt even ask if he was ok made him carry on i spoke to him tell him he should make sure hes safe at work my friend lost her husband after a 12 ft fall. his reply to me was it was only 10 ft and my other lads that work for him said to me that apprentice end up taking you to court for falling! he wanted rid of my son then.should not be able to get away with it. We went to citizen advice my son has signed contract between employer and college. College have offered no help other than take it further yourself my son has 14 wk left college to complete level 3 there's areas still not covered to gain level 3 I don't want my son to sign on at dole because just no that's a bad move he's applied for 30 jobs but most want that level 3 standard should we seek legal advice Now my son employment ended 23 Jan is it worth trying to do anything should my son just try move on he has no reference no p45 his employer seems to get away with everything earns very large sums of money but if you look at his company on Internet only earns 10k year rents out 2nd home on top of everything seems to be getting away with a awful lot. Any help or advice what steps w
Zoe - 16-Mar-15 @ 5:08 PM
@bux12 - Apprentices and the working time regulations for young people have special protections for young workers under 18 which apply to apprentices. They state that young workers must not exceed the 8 hour a day or 40 hours per week. They are also entitled to paid holidays and rest breaks of at least 30 minutes if their shift lasts more than four and half hours. I suggest you give theAcas helpline a call on 0300 123 1100 it will give independent and impartial advice around employment laws and workers rights. I hope this helps.
AnApprenticeship - 20-Jan-15 @ 11:31 AM
My daughter is in an apprenticeship, working 9 - 6pm 5 days a week.She is offered breaks )am and pm) and a lunch, but often does not take as too busy.She has been told if she wants any training it has to be out of hours, unpaid from 6 - 8pm twice a week.She is exhausted and on her feet all day.I have emailed her boss but he is adamant this should be done as unpaid as she is offered these breaks.she is on the min wage and in tears most nights.I feel he has let her down and using this scheme for slave labour as she cleans constantly. He will not let her go 10 mins early to catch the bus which then means I have to do a round trip of 30 miles each night, after I have done a days work to collect her.She has offered to have a shorter lunch break etc.She is 17.
bux12 - 18-Jan-15 @ 5:58 PM
@Kid, you can report this to the police. The computer was not the property of the shop owner and he had no right to sell it, if fact it could be classed as theft as he has intentionally deprived you of that property. If you report it to the police they can investigate this for you and will provide you with a crime number which you can use to claim on the insurance for the laptop.
dado - 6-Aug-14 @ 10:37 AM
My husband got a job as an apprentice at a tattoo studio. He was offered no payment but an offer of free tattoos while he worked there. At the time neither of us realised that there was a national minimum wage for apprentices. My husband has dyslexia and is physically disabled. This means he takes longer to learn than other people and required frequent time off work due to his disability. His employer was unhappy with his progress and fired him afterapproximately 4 and a half months. The main role he had there was to run the social media side of things. He borrowed a laptop that belonged to my parents to use at work for this purpose. He kept the laptop at the shop. When we asked for it back we were told that his employer had sold it. He claimed my husband had not worked hard enough to deserve the tattoos he had received for free. He said he had sold the computer to cover these costs. I have tried to reason with him via email but he did not respond, except to say that if I went to the tattoo studio he would call the police. My husband didn't get the apprenticeship through a college course or any official process, it was a private arrangement. I don't know what we can do except take him to a civil court but we have no money to pay for it.
Kid - 6-Aug-14 @ 12:45 AM
I've worked for the same person from 2007, she has NEVER adhered to any of the rules about employing people. on the 27th of june while I was working,BRITISH GAS came into the shop and CUT OFF the electricity as she hadnt paid the bill,two weeks from then I contact HER to find out about my job and was told,that she was going to work all the shifts in the shop to help get it back up and running, therefore I HAVE NO JOB now!!can anyone HELP me get this sorted out PLEASE??
weelulu - 15-Jul-13 @ 7:44 PM
Hi I'm 22 and have been in an apprenticeship for the past 12 months I'm on £2.90 an hour and I am not receiving any help from my boss towards my programme, he chose the scheme for me and have mentioned this to him on several occasions I have also mentioned it to staff at the college but I'm having a very bad experience. I first went to college to study and got my A-Levels then as of no luck getting a job I took a similar course as an apprentice, I feel I am being taken for granted and my time as an apprentice is cheap/easy labour. My main problem is the no work is towards my apprenticeship and I'm doing it in my own time with my own (limited) resources. Any advice will be much appreciated.
Snix - 10-Jan-12 @ 4:30 AM
Hi please could you give me some advice please im 24 and have been doing a voluntary apprenticeship as a beauty therapist for 18 months I work every saturday unpaid in exchange for training however the training I have recieved has been very poor and minimul I am making my employer a profit and fulfilling my part of the contract for nothing in return however i still have 6months remaining but wish to leave I have signed a written contract which states I will only recieve my diplomas at the end of the 2nd year if I leave now will I be entitled to at least some of them?
della8701 - 2-May-11 @ 12:13 PM
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