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  • Idiot Boss
    MisguidedTree here with his first ever rant. I promise to try and not swear here.

    I recently found myself stuck in an apprenticeship that I have regretted taking since the second day. My new workplace is in an awkward location that takes at least two buses to get to along with a half hour walk to get between the first buss stop and my house. I spend around three and a half hours every day just travelling to and from work. And when I am here it is a nightmare. The very first week I was here I should have been on a three day week for the first fortnight to ease myself into the business and become familiar with my apprenticeship. However, on my first day I was suddenly put in charge of a significant number or duties with no help other than an initial explanation of what my responsibilities are.
    Later that same day I was then asked to come in on the next day even though I should have been off, and naively I agreed since it's very had to say no when it's your first day on your first real job. As anyone can imagine, there went my two three day weeks and I was full time right from the off.

    This was all back in December and it got no easier as the days went on. I found myself being given and increasing number of things to do even though I was incredibly busy with the stuff I still had to finish. It got even worse when I was told that I had to come into work during the Christmas holidays. The only days I had off that month were Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Eve & Day, none of which I was paid for by the way and when I questioned my boss about this he said this exact phrase "Why should I pay you for days when you aren't here?"... I don't think anything needs to be said about that and I couldn't argue with it because I didn't have a copy of my contract and at that point I hadn't even signed a contract because "It was still being drawn up". I finally had the contract given to me, not asked to sign it, roughly two months later near the end of February. I found one part in particular quite interesting "You are entitled to 28 days holiday which includes statutory and other public holidays and any period of shut down between Christmas and New Year should the company decide to close during this time." so it's quite clear my employer doesn't have a clue on what is and isn't in my contract.

    For the time being I'll leave the rant there because it's going on quite a bit and I'm not even halfway through everything that I would like to say. As a point of interest I would like to know others comments and any advice would be immensely appreciated as I know for a fact that I can't stay in this job for much longer and if I manage to complete the apprenticeship I am going to tell my employer exactly where he can stick his job offer for minimum wage.

    Just as an added bit of information, apprentices are not entitled to national minimum wage but we have our own minimum which means we essential work on less than half the NMW. My pay is £3.20 an hour and I work 9-5 Monday to Friday with half an hour for lunch and no breaks.
    £3.20 an hour? well, at least you are above the minimum pay rate.

    the hours you are currently working don't leave a lot of time for your school work/outside training... so the point can be argued with your employer... but, you are entitled to the same rights as an employee... but to be honest, searching through english law is like trying to gnaw my left nut off... meaning it's unpleasant to attempt, and should i succeed, i surely won't enjoy it much.

    but, you should have had the contract completed before you started your apprenticeship.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    I am afraid there are bosses out there like yours under British Employment Law there are special rules for apprentices. I suggest you contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ and explain to them. You are entitled to breaks if you work 4 hours or more.

    But consider how much you want this job, people will help you but your boss seems to be the type who will instantly brand you a trouble maker and find ways of getting you out. At the moment you are being paid £3.20 per hour minimum wage is £2.65 for under 18’s and £3.68 at 18 https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates that is more than getting nothing at all. I’m afraid it’s all part of the growing up system of life so get used to it.

    Good luck
    Thanks for the replies. I will admit that at this point I am trying to stick it out as best I can and I'm rushing myself through my qualification in an attempt to finish early. I've already gotten half way so I'm not quitting without the qualification. This was more a way to reduce my stress than anything else.
    What I can't stand most about this job is that I'm an IT apprentice and my employer pretty much has me running his whole business, which he himself has said to me in what I assume is a failed attempt to motivate me. The business is very small and I'm not over exaggerating when I say that it grinds to a crawl without me. I do an immense amount of work, have next to no free time anymore since I need to do my coursework on weekends and my employer seems to think that I am here to do anything and everything he can think of. It gets more than a little bit stressful and can be pretty hard to deal with.
    Stick in and the BIG ££££££ will come.

    In the old days an apprenticeship was referred to as being "Time served" so you are putting in the time now, rewards later Yay
    Ya, I know all about asshole bosses. I'd say do what you can to take care of yourself. When I was progressing upward, I noticed a lot more of the office politics going on, people trying to take credit for your work. People who ask for advice just so they can throw your name around when they can't explain why they did things. If you read more threads, I have my own about my bosses antics.

    The lesion I learned is this:
    Take care of yourself, and do what you feel is right so you can live with yourself. When I saw the political writing on the wall & this person was going to be promoted just out of seniority I should have stepped up, but I believed the office "hype" and became complacent, which lead to a circumstance worse than you can imagine. You can turn this into a positive if you learn something from this. Like Spork said, next time have the contract ready before you start... You know the boss knew the rules, and he was squeezing whatever he could get out of you. If anything, the stress you feel from the tasks your doing, is building your skillset & teaching you how things go. That can't be taken from you.
    " is building your skillset & teaching you how things go. That can't be taken from you. "

    I like the idea of being time-served but the big ££££s won't be coming in this business. I talked to the only other regular worker here and he said that he has been on the same wage for over 4 years...

    And about the skill-set, I've just had a look at the qualification itself and I'm now starting to think this whole thing was a big mistake. The qualification itself is called "Level 3 Diploma in IT User Skills (ITQ Apprentice)". For those who don't know this diploma doesn't do any good for University or UCAS or anything, and the qualification is all about the use of different software with very small mention towards maintenance. I'm starting to doubt how employers are going to see that because I prefer to go for IT technician and similar jobs.

    And another thing to add to my previous rant. I asked my employer this morning when the soonest I could take some holidays was so I could finish the rest of my units in one fell swoop and he said, quite categorically, that I would need to give 2-3 months advance notice to take just three days off and 1 month notice for one day. I can honestly say I hate my job...

    Does anyone know about this particular qualification? Also, if by some miracle I manage to complete the apprenticeship, am I able to go for the same level apprenticeship elsewhere? Just a bit worried that the skill-set that I am gaining is absolutely useless and I might need to to another level 3 to move on to a level 4 apprenticeship, which is the ultimate goal.
    I'm sorry, I don't know of that qualification...It sounds like you know what must be done, though. What you're doing now sounds like the road to no where.
    Make an appointment with the job centre.

    Pull a sickie and go to the Job Centre take all documentation with you, make sure you have all your gripes written down about your boss and his company in order of relevance. Training issues, employee's rights, hours of work, breaks given, holiday entitlement etc.

    If what you say is true he is breaking so many employment rules it's ridicules.

    Ask if they can help find you another Apprenticeship/course best suited to what you are after. The government are throwing money at apprenticeship at the moment and most start in September 2013

    Just a tip when going for future interviews do not slag off your previous employer that will only go against you.

    I hope this is helpful, good luck.

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