A Lincolnshire college is set to take part in a pilot project which will see it join forces with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority to teach its students about modern slavery and labour exploitation.
Boston College will be the first in the UK to include the topics within its 2018-19 curriculum and will be hosting a number of activities from September, including Masterclasses with professionals, tutorials on employment rights and a visual art competition in which they will have to interpret the term ‘gangmaster’.
The project, which supports the GLAA’s Prevent strategy, will reach out to local employers to help them better understand labour exploitation in the workplace.
The pilot was launched at Boston College today (Friday) where guests included the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Women and Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins, Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman, and Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
Head of Learner Services at Boston College Dawn Telford said the partnership provided opportunities for learners, staff and parents to learn about issues of modern slavery and labour exploitation.
“It is important our learners understand their rights in the workplace, and by providing this information it safeguards our young people who will be moving in to employment,” she said.
“Boston and surrounding areas such as South Holland have a historically high concentration of gangmasters serving the agricultural and food processing sectors.
“Over the last 15 years, the area has also seen significant levels of migration from other EU countries, especially Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. This has meant that more than one quarter of students studying at the college come from a non-British background.”
GLAA Director of Strategy Darryl Dixon said the authority was ‘delighted’ to be working on the ‘ground-breaking initiative’ with Boston College.
He said: “The college is perfectly placed within its community to raise awareness of modern slavery and labour abuse, as well as being able to take appropriate action to help anyone who may have been exploited.”
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Women Victoria Atkins said she was pleased by the course which she said will ‘help raise awareness and build a stronger insight to effectively tackle this awful crime’.
“This government is taking a world leading approach, by using the Modern Slavery Act and reforms to the GLAA, to provide law enforcement the powers they need to identify victims, protect vulnerable people and bring offenders to justice,” she said.
“The GLAA has played a pivotal role in our fight against exploitation by using its new powers to investigate labour market offences, arrest employers who may unscrupulously be exploiting their workers, and identify and refer potential victims through the National Referral Mechanism to ensure the right support is given to those in need.”
Following the pilot, the GLAA plans to make a range of educational resources freely available for all other colleges and post-16 education providers across the UK.
Anyone with concerns about labour exploitation should speak to the GLAA’s intelligence team on 0800 432 0804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, they can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.