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Safeguarding – keeping apprentices safe

Keeping apprentices safe

At ARU we take our responsibility to ensure the safety of our students very seriously.

We treat everyone with respect, will not tolerate sexual misconduct, violence, or abuse and we will take all reasonable steps to keep our campus and community safe. This also extends to our students who have chosen to study at the University as part of an apprenticeship programme.

We are committed to working together to create a fantastic learning experience for our apprentices, and to ensure the highest levels of safety and wellbeing.

Our approach

Our Lead Safeguarding Officer (LSO) for the University oversees the University’s Safeguarding policy and chairs the University Prevent and Safeguarding Steering Group.

All members of university staff working with apprentices are trained in safeguarding and can access additional information, advice and training when needed.

Unsilenced is our online reporting tool to make it easier for apprentices to tell us their situation. Visit our Unsilenced page.

There is also advice available if an apprentice is worried about someone.

Your role as an employer

Employers have a duty to comply with all current and future UK legislation and statutory responsibilities in relation to safeguarding.

There is a particular expectation that as an employer, you should take responsibility for an apprentice’s welfare in the workplace and to also seek appropriate advice when you feel an apprentice may be at risk in their personal lives.

The following pages explain the different University support available and provide information you may wish to incorporate into your own internal guidance.

There is also advice available if an apprentice is worried about someone.


Safeguarding is about protecting a person's right to live in safety; it is about working together to prevent and stop both the risk and experience of abuse or neglect.

Our approach

  • Ensure that employers are aware of their safeguarding obligations, through provision of guidance
  • Ensure apprentices have an awareness of safeguarding and understand how to access university support services
  • Provide safeguarding training for all University employees working with apprentices
  • Ensure University staff working with young and vulnerable people are subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring service check
  • Maintain open channels of communication with each employer. Apprentices may act very differently depending on their environment and may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with different people.

Your role as an employer

  • Familiarise yourself with relevant government legislation
  • Take appropriate steps to understand what safeguarding means in practice at your organisation, in the context of the responsibilities of your employees
  • Ensure that any staff working with apprentices in a position of trust are appropriate for the role
  • Ensure that any people working with young or vulnerable people have had an appropriate check completed with the Disclosure and Barring service
  • If possible, identify a person to coordinate safeguarding concerns with ARU should the need arise.

An interconnected approach

Safeguarding traditionally focusses on the responsibilities of institutions to protect young people under the age of 18, and vulnerable adults who lack capacity, or are unable to keep themselves safe. However, on a day-to-day, operational level the University also manages safeguarding by supporting adult apprentices who are affected by behaviour that is intentionally harmful to them.

This includes:

  • Radicalisation and spiritual abuse
  • Bullying, harassment and hate crime
  • Sexual violence
  • Domestic violence and coercive control.

Concerns around individual apprentices’ safety are addressed through a suite of complementary University processes.

The Cause for Concern process enables staff from across the university to refer an apprentice to the Counselling & Wellbeing Service if they have concerns about their wellbeing. The service will contact the apprentice within 24 hours to offer confidential support.

We also have emergency procedures for individuals at imminent and/or immediate risk which complement our Cause for Concern process.

Unsilenced is the University’s harassment reporting tool where apprentices can log both named and anonymous concerns.

Risk Case Review meetings occur weekly. and are attended by representatives from across the university to discuss incidents of concern, actions are agreed and then monitored.

These processes form part of a continuum of university responses which support the safety and wellbeing of apprentices. They also enable staff to reflect on concerns which, on closer consideration, may require further action and involvement from external services. Key to their effective delivery is the understanding that safeguarding is best managed collectively and iteratively through a continual process of risk assessment, risk management and agreed interventions.

These processes interact closely with the University’s Prevent Policy and Rules, Regulations and Procedures for Students which provides clarity about the behaviours which are not acceptable within the University community.

For apprentices enrolled on courses leading to professional registration our fitness to practice protocols also applies.


The Prevent Duty is part of the Counterterrorism and Security Act and places legal requirements on universities to have due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism and to ensure vulnerable individuals receive timely and appropriate support.

There is no single way of identifying a person who may be vulnerable to extremist ideology, and it is often the culmination of several influences. These can include family, friends, or relationships they have made online. Extremism can also include non-violent action.

ARU believes that honest, thoughtful, and respectful debate forms a vital part of education, and we provide a safe and welcoming environment where apprentices have the freedom to express and discuss varying views.

Our approach

  • Provide relevant training for university staff so that they understand the obligations the university has under the Prevent Duty and how to manage risks and concerns
  • Have clear procedures in place so that any concerns can immediately be brought to specialist attention
  • Provide a curriculum for apprentices that explores these matters
  • Provide a contact for any further information regarding the Prevent Duty
  • Ensure apprentices can express views respectfully and create an environment that encourages free speech.

Your role

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the principles that underpin the Prevent Duty
  • Seek specialist support if any concerns are raised.

British values

An important part of Prevent is the promotion of British values. These are the norms that shape our society, and which are enshrined in law, through legislation such as the Equality Act 2010.

British values are described as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty and mutual respect
  • Tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs

Apprentices are encouraged to explore ideas in a context where these values are recognised and respected.

Our approach

  • To promote British values throughout an apprentice’s programme
  • Provide a programme of study which interweaves British Values and how they influence our society
  • Create opportunities for apprentices to apply their learning to relevant situations and contexts
  • Encourage apprentices to respect each other and their differences, including protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and consistent with the University’s values around inclusion.

Your role

  • Demonstrate a commitment to British values
  • Adhere to the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

Staying safe online

As digital engagement forms an integral part of how we work and study, it’s important we take measures to safeguard our apprentice’s digital wellbeing. We want our apprentices to be confident in the ways in which they can protect themselves online and ensure the security of their personal data.

An important part of an apprentice’s development at university is becoming a critical thinker. Developing this critical mindset will also help apprentices to examine and appraise the validity and authenticity of information online.

Our approach

  • Consider how apprentices may be at risk of harm using the internet or technology
  • Implement appropriate online controls for apprentices so that they can work safely and effectively online
  • Provide guidance to apprentices to develop an objective attitude to online information and evaluate its authenticity
  • Make sure university staff are trained to identify and deal with concerns about online safety
  • Provide clear guidance on what is and is not an acceptable use of the internet at university.

Your role

  • Ensure apprentices are made aware of your organisation’s policies on using the internet and technology in the workplace
  • Understand the dangers apprentices may face using technology in the workplace and act to minimise risks
  • Communicate any concerns about safety online to the University.

Safeguarding in practice

If you find that you need help managing a particular set of circumstances with an apprentice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are here to support you.

An apprentice may feel comfortable talking to some people about an issue and not others. The University will endeavour to be as transparent as possible with employers, while respecting the apprentice’s trust.

Although a lot of safeguarding activity is reactive, we encourage you to have regular meetings and supervisory sessions with your apprentice so that you can act on any concerns that arise.

An apprentice may not seek help, but there are common signs which can help you to recognise when things are wrong:

  • Absence - missing work or study
  • Appearance - physical injuries or self- neglect
  • Behaviour – becoming uncharacteristically aggressive or withdrawn
  • Emotional health - crying, anxiety or low mood
  • Risky behaviour - excessive alcohol consumption or use of drugs.

If the apprentice or someone else is at immediate risk of harm please do not hesitate, call the emergency services.

Who to contact?

Safeguarding enquiries
[email protected]

Prevent concerns
[email protected]

Apprenticeship queries
[email protected]

Lead Safeguarding Officer
Paul Bogle, Secretary & Clerk
[email protected]

Deputy Lead Safeguarding Officer (Students)
David Walmsley, Deputy Director, Student and Library Services
[email protected]

Deputy Lead Safeguarding Officer (Staff)
Dawn Taylor, Deputy Secretary Compliance & Risk
[email protected]

Apprentice Safeguarding Co-ordinator
Tom Taylor, Head of Degrees at Work
[email protected]