Recruitment and human capital business Capita is demanding trainee graduates pay £21,000 if they leave an unpaid training scheme - despite trainees having no guarantee of securing a full-time role.
Speaking to The Guardian, former trainees explained that the firm also stipulated that training-scheme candidates must hold degrees to join the unpaid programme.
Trainees complained that the two-to-four month course was “absolutely useless” noting that anyone “expecting a hands-on approach would be disappointed”.
One trainee said: “I was offered a few opportunities by other graduate schemes and companies [during the Capita training] but I refused them as I was under the threat of a liability to pay £21,000. I thought at the end of it how foolish I was.”
Another trainee detailed how, after working on the scheme for over a year, Capita asked her to pay £21,000 to leave. After protesting, the graduate was left without her last month of pay – circa £1,200.
Furthermore, disappointed trainees described the course as mainly consisting of online reading from a digital library - without any teaching or on-the-job experience.
A separate trainee details how trainees were used to “mainly fill HR gaps” and worried that the training roles were not suitable for their long-term employment prospects.
After the revelations, a Capita spokesman said that the firm now charges £13,000 to candidates wanting to leave their role before completing training and two years of work.
A spokesperson said: “All participants in the training are made fully aware, at numerous times prior to commencing the training, that it is provided free of charge to only those people who successfully complete the course and are engaged by Capita or a Capita client. Those who successfully complete the training but cannot be found a role within 90 days also receive the training free of charge.”
The group’s graduate programme involves up to 14 weeks of unpaid training.
Capita claim that 99% of trainees, who complete unpaid programme, are then offered a job.