28 Jan 2021
A new qualification providing students with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves from labour abuse will launch next week.
The Level 1 Award in Workers’ Rights and Labour Exploitation has been developed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in partnership with the Skills and Education Group, the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab and Boston College in Lincolnshire.
One thousand young adults are expected to take part in the pilot project across a range of colleges and other educational establishments from February 1.
The 10-hour course has been designed specifically for those entering the world of work. Students will be given a crash course in understanding their rights in the workplace, covering everything from how to apply for jobs safely to the National Minimum Wage, holiday pay and reading payslips.
They will also be taught how to identify the main signs of modern slavery and labour exploitation, and the ways they can report concerns to the GLAA and law enforcement.
The course will be highly interactive, featuring videos and case studies which can either be delivered online or in a classroom setting once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Students will be assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations at the end of the project, which will be regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual).
The qualification follows a successful pilot between the GLAA and Boston College during the 2018-19 academic year, which saw all 1,500 full-time students at the college receive a tutorial on workers’ rights.
This was the first time the GLAA had worked with a college to embed the subject of labour exploitation across a curriculum.
GLAA Head of Prevention and Partnerships Frank Hanson said: “The best way to prevent labour exploitation in the years and decades to come is by ensuring everyone has the skills they need when they enter the workplace for the first time.
“For most people, knowing how to read a payslip or spot a fake job advert is something they take for granted. However, the reality for some young adults is that they have simply never had this training, leaving them potentially at risk of being exploited.
“This exciting new qualification aims to address this knowledge gap by preparing the workforce of tomorrow with all the practical tools required for them to stay safe at work.
“Once the pilot is complete, we hope to roll the course out in full across the UK, particularly focusing on areas where there is a high risk of labour exploitation, in sectors such as construction, hospitality, textiles and agriculture.”
Scott Forbes, Director of Member Services and Communications, at Skills and Education Group, said: “Thanks to the collective expertise of the GLAA, the University of Nottingham’s Rights’ Lab and Boston College, we have been able to develop a Level 1 qualification that we hope learners will find highly engaging.
“It is our intention that the qualification will raise awareness and provide young people and adults with an understanding of their rights in the workplace. We are pleased that several of our member organisations will be taking part in the pilot and we look forward to the outcome.”
Kaley Boothby, Advanced Practitioner at Boston College, said: “The learners who took part in the pilot at Boston College have benefited significantly from exposure to the issues of modern-day slavery and workers’ rights.
“The tutorial programme has opened their eyes to the issues affecting them directly in the part-time jobs they currently have and to the things to look out for in the industries that they want to work in.”