SNIPEF urges immediate resolution in ongoing industrial action at colleges.

September 29, 2023

SNIPEF has called on all parties involved in the continuing national college strikes and 'work to rule' action to intensify their efforts towards resolution.

The EIS-FELA action, which started in early 2023, has resulted in growing challenges within the profession. Apprentices are facing restrictions in their learning, leading to a mounting backlog of 'overdue completers'. This ever-increasing backlog, in turn, stifles the entry of talent into the profession as employers are reluctant to recruit new apprentices. Final-year apprentices are also being prevented from completing their apprenticeship and having an uplift in their wages until their qualifications have been approved.

Recognising the deepening implications of the situation across the profession, SNIPEF has been in talks with the colleges, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council to urge progress in resolving the strikes.  We have also requested a meeting with the Further Education Minister, Graeme Dey MSP, where we will raise our concerns, the impact the strikes are having on employers and apprentices and the need for a timely resolution that serves the interests of all parties involved.

Addressing employer concerns regarding alternative assessment facilitators, Stephanie Lowe, SNIPEF Deputy Chief Executive, said, "Some members have inquired why college managers or agency workers cannot step in for these assessments.

"The legal framework is very clear: any college staff, including managers affiliated with the union, cannot assess apprentices. Moreover, case law explicitly prevents colleges from deploying agency workers to undertake the responsibilities of those on strike.

"We genuinely understand the frustrations and challenges these constraints pose, and I assure our members that SNIPEF remains focussed on advocating for a rapid resolution to this situation. Our utmost priority is minimising disruption to our apprentices and ensuring their continued progression within the profession."

SNIPEF Training remains fully committed to supporting employers and apprentices during these difficult times. Our dedicated Regional Training Officers are ready to assist and advise employers and apprentices. If anyone has concerns or requires support, we urge them to contact their local RTO.

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