Problems at your work, placement or learning

If you are having difficulties at your work, apprenticeship, training, learning, college or placement there is support available to help you stay in learning until you are 18
Young woman at work; a male employee stading uncomfortably close behind her

Everybody has some challenges at their work or learning. But if these are getting in the way of study, or causing you distress, then something is going wrong. When you are having difficulties at work, an apprenticeship or learning you should:

  • Know your rights
  • Ask for help or support
  • Stay calm and be persistent

Most adults in the UK will spend a third of their life at work. So sort out problems sooner rather than later.

Take Action: Want to talk over an issue right away? Click on the live chat button on this page to talk to one of our team, or leave us a message here or to

Know your rights

Everybody has rights, whether they are in learning, a volunteer, a trainee or doing a job or apprenticeship.

These rights are usually described in your contract. This can be a contract of learning, or of employment. These rights are in addition to the rights you have by law, which include things like protection from harassment.

If you feel your rights are not being respected at work, check your contract, and speak to someone you think might be able to help. If you are an apprentice, this could be your learning provider, for example, or if you are at college, this could be student support.

You will also have responsibilities in your contract, for example how many hours you should work and when, or how much time you should spend on study.

Instant expert: Find out about your rights as an apprentice or employee at different ages

Ask for help or support

It is always best if you are able to talk things through with your employer, tutor or trainer. They are the person who is best able to make changes which will support you. It can help if you:

  • Write down what is worrying you
  • Discuss it with someone you trust like a worker, another teacher or employee, or a parent or friend
  • Set a time where you can talk in private

Lots of work-places, colleges and larger employers have workers whose job it is to solve problems like this. Alternatively you can talk to an adviser at the employment rights organisation ACAS, or someone at your student Union, or workplace union. If you are an agency worker, you can speak to your agency.

If you are with a small employer or learning provider, there will still be someone to speak to - even if you are learning or working at home.

Speaking to other people is a good way to understand exactly what the issue is, and work out what needs to change.

Instant expert: Employers say that young people suffer more problems in the workplace if they are not work ready.

Stay calm and be persistent

It can be hard to stay calm when you have been upset by something at work or in your place of learning. But the best way to solve the problem will be to stay calm.

This does not mean you should put up with bad behaviour. You have rights and these should be respected, just as other people's rights should be respected.

When something unacceptable is happening like bullying at work, or harassment, then you need to be persistent in reporting it and making sure that something is done.

If there is a problem in an organisation, then it helps everyone to sort it out.

Experience: You can read about how lots of other young people faced up to problems in their workplace and solved them on the Mix - Worker's Rights and Pay.

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