In this blog post, Suhani Chanchlani of Amity Law School Delhi analyses the relevant provisions of the Apprenticeship Act 1961. This Act regulates and promotes the training of apprentices in India and is of utmost importance in the context of the new government`s flagship program Skill India. Skill India seeks to create a manpower of skilled individuals who would be able to contribute to the progress of the country. Apprenticeship is one of the essential methods through which skills can be developed.




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Who are apprentices?

An apprentice is a person who undergoes a period of training under an employer to learn the skills and crafts of a particular trade.The Apprenticeship Act (Act) defines apprentices to be those persons who undergo a period of apprenticeship or training under an apprenticeship contract.  The basic qualifications that need to be met for a person to be recruited as an apprentice are that he/she must have attained a minimum age of 14 years and for the trades that are designated to involve hazardous activities, a minimum age of 18 years. Other than this qualification, additional qualifications can be prescribed for different trades and different categories of apprentices.

The terms and conditions of an apprenticeship are mandated by an apprenticeship contract that is entered into between an employer and an apprentice. In case, an apprentice employed is a minor, his/her guardian would enter into a contract with the employer.

The terms and conditions so stipulated in the contract must be agreed to by the parties to contract. In any case, these terms and conditions cannot be in derogation under this Act or be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.


Applicability of this Act

According to clause (a) of sub-section 4 of section 1 of the Act, the provisions of this Act would only apply to those industries or trades that have been notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette and the date from which the application would commence would be as per the stipulations of those particular notifications. The Central Government has included almost all industries under the purview of this Act by its publication of notifications in the Official Gazette from time to time.

This Act also does not apply to Special Apprenticeship Training Programmes of the governments unless especially notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette. For the removal of doubts, this Act only applies to those categories of apprenticeship wherein practical training is essential to trade. Thus, this Act does not cover so-called ‘internships.’


Duties of an Employer

  • An employer is obligated to send a copy of every apprenticeship contract that he enters into within 30 days from the date of entering to the Apprenticeship Advisor. Once a portal website is made by the Central Government for this purpose, then the employer would have to send the details of contracts within seven days from the date of entering.
  • He shall reserve training places for apprentices belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. The number of places reserved for these categories must be by the prescriptions of the government, having regard to the population of each category in every state.
  • The apprentices must be provided with adequate training as per the provisions of this Act and also by the terms of the apprenticeship contract. For this purpose, an employer must make adequate arrangements for the purpose of imparting practical training.
  • Adequate instructional staff must be provided if the employer cannot undertake the responsibility of training the apprentices himself. The staff so appointed must possess prescribed qualifications for the purpose of imparting theoretical and practical training and also to facilitate trade test of the apprentices.
  • The employer would be liable to compensate for any personal injuries that an apprentice may sustain in the period of apprenticeship. Such compensation shall be payable under the provisions of the Workmen`s Act 1923 insofar it is applicable.
  • The employer is obligated to pay the prescribed minimum wages to every apprentice or the prescribed minimum wages that an employer was supposed to give on 1st January 1970, whichever is higher.
  • The provisions of the Factory`s Act, 1948 and Mines Act, 1952 shall apply to apprentices working in factories and mines, respectively, insofar as the matters relating to health, safety and welfare of the apprentices is concerned.
  • An employer cannot make an apprentice work overtime unless he has a due permission from the Apprenticeship Advisor, who shall not grant such permission unless he is satisfied that an apprentice must work overtime in his interest or public interest.
  • An apprentice must be allowed by the employer to take such leaves or holidays in a week as are observed in the establishment.


Duties of an Apprentice


  • An apprentice must learn the trade so chosen with utmost diligence and conscientiousness. He must try his level best to qualify himself as a skilled person in the trade for the duration of the apprenticeship.
  • He must attend practical and instructional classes imparted by the employer or a person designated on his behalf on a regular basis.
  • An apprentice must carry out all the lawful orders of his employer and other superiors.
  • An apprentice must work for such hours in a day and a week as determined by the employer which would be subject to the prescribed duration of the training period.
  • He must carry out all the obligations that are stipulated in the apprenticeship contract.
  • The conduct and the discipline of the apprenticeship shall be governed by those set of rules and regulations that apply to corresponding employees in an establishment.


Number of Apprentices

  • The Central Government after consulting with the Central Apprenticeship Council prescribes for the number of apprentices that a designated trade is permitted to engage.
  • For the purpose of providing training to apprentices, employers are allowed to join by the guidelines issued by the Central Government from time to time and after getting an approval from the Apprenticeship Advisor.


Termination of Apprenticeship Contract

  • On expiration of the apprenticeship period: – The contract of apprenticeship terminates on the expiration of the period of the contract.
  • By sending an application to the Apprenticeship Advisor: – Either of the parties can terminate the apprenticeship contract by sending the Apprenticeship Advisor. A copy of this application must also be sent to the other party. The Apprenticeship Advisor after considering the application and the objections to it if any, may terminate the contract if he is satisfied that it is in the interest of the parties or any of the parties.


Practical and Basic Training of Apprentices


  • An employer must make adequate arrangements for the purpose of imparting practical training to apprentices.
  • The Central Apprenticeship Advisor must be allowed to access the establishments to determine if the training is being given to the apprentices by the approved program.
  • Those apprentices who have not undergone institutional training in a school or other institution recognized by National Council or other institution recognized by a Board or State Council of Technical Education shall be allowed to undergo basic training in establishments that have adequate facilities for this purpose.
  • The Central Government after consulting Central Apprenticeship Council shall approve the syllabus and or the equipment to be utilized for practical and basic training of apprentices other than a technician or vocational apprentice.
  • The Central Government in consultation with the Central Apprenticeship Council shall approve the programme of apprenticeship training and the facilities required for it for technician and vocational apprentices.
  • The recurring costs of basic training (inclusive of stipends if any) for apprentices other than a technician or vocational apprentices shall be incurred by the employer if such employer employs 250 or more workers. If the employer employs less than 250 workers then, the cost of basic training of such apprentices shall be incurred by the employer and the Government up to a limit as laid down by the Central Government.
  • The recurring costs of basic training (inclusive of stipends if any) for technician and vocational apprentices shall be incurred by the employer alone.
  • The recurring costs of practical training (exclusive of stipends if any) for the training of graduate or technician apprentices or vocational apprentices shall be borne by the employer alone. However, the costs of their stipends shall be incurred by the employer and the government up to the limit as laid down by the Central Government.
  • An employer at his cost must also impart training in a course of related instruction (which shall be approved by the Central Government in consultation with the Central Apprenticeship Council). This is to ensure that an apprentice is also equipped with such theoretical knowledge so as to make him qualified skilled craftsmen.


Settlement of Disputes

  • Any disagreement or dispute that may arise under the apprenticeship contract shall be referred to the Apprenticeship Advisor for decisions.
  • If any party to the apprenticeship contract is not satisfied with the decision of the Apprenticeship Advisor, then it may approach the Apprenticeship Council which shall appoint a Committee for the purpose of hearing the appeal of the parties and for making a decision. The decision so made would be final.







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