College News

Rights and responsibilities week at Boston College

Students at Boston College will this week be given practical sessions designed to improve their knowledge of modern slavery and labour exploitation in the workplace.Pilot Project Will Teach Students about Modern Slavery

The Employment Rights and Responsibilities week, which begins on Monday 29th October, is a key part of the pioneering pilot project developed by the College and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Boston College is the first college in the UK to work with the GLAA on embedding the subject of labour abuse across its range of academic and vocational courses. Over the course of the week, the College and GLAA will be joined by ACAS, the Salvation Army, Citizens Advice, local employers and community groups in delivering the sessions. The aim is to equip students with information and knowledge about the signs of labour exploitation, which they can take with them into the workplace.

This week forms only a small part of the project, which has so far received the backing of local MP Matt Warman, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, and Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins.

All full-time students regardless of course will have a tutorial on workers’ rights and spotting the signs of modern slavery at some point in the academic year. Visual Arts and Media students have also been tasked with putting their creativity to use in producing new and innovative concepts based on raising awareness of modern slavery and labour exploitation.

The GLAA will make a range of educational resources freely available for all other UK colleges and post-16 education providers at the end of the project.

Jo Maher, Boston College Principal said, “Boston College are proud to be working with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority on this sector leading initiative, which will provide our learners with the opportunity to gain essential life skills regarding rights and responsibilities within the workplace.”

GLAA Director of Strategy Darryl Dixon said, “We are confident that these sessions will provide students with crucial knowledge of how to spot the signs of labour exploitation and how to report their concerns to us. Students currently studying at Boston College are in a very privileged position, receiving the best possible education on modern slavery and labour abuse. We hope this will stand them in good stead once they enter the world of work and, as they progress with their careers and become the workforce of tomorrow, they can use their newfound knowledge and understanding to help transform and create a workplace free of slavery and exploitation.”

Rick Fletcher, Ethical Trade Officer at Freshtime UK Ltd said, “Labour Exploitation is a serious issue facing vulnerable workers in the UK. Employers have a key role to play in tackling this problem and Freshtime believe that awareness raising is an important part of this. Our colleagues are given information and guidance on how to spot the signs and how to get help. However, educating people on the issue before they enter the world of work gives them an understanding of the risks they may encounter, as well as how to look out for themselves and their fellow workers. The more awareness that can be raised on this matter, the better chance we all have to prevent it from happening. This is why we support the innovative project between the GLAA and Boston College.”

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