Apprentices Act, 1961 was enacted to provide for the regulation and control of training of apprentices. A person has to be more than fourteen years of age and also has to satisfy prescribed standard of education to be qualified for being engaged as an apprentice to undergo apprenticeship training in any trade. Special provisions have to be made for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Also he or, if he is minor, his guardian has to enter into a contract of apprenticeship with the employer. Every such contract of apprenticeship may contain such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the parties to the contract but no such term or condition can be inconsistent with any provision of the Act. Employer has been defined as any person who employs one or more other persons to do any work in an establishment for remuneration and includes any person entrusted with the supervision and control of employees in such establishment. Obligations have been put on employers by the Act such as they will have to make suitable arrangements in their workshops for imparting a course of practical training to every apprentice engaged by them.
Trade apprentices are expected to endeavour to learn the trade conscientiously and diligently and to qualify himself as a skilled craftsman, to attend practical and instructional classes regularly, to carry out all lawful orders of his employer and superiors in the establishments, and to carry out his obligations under the contract of apprenticeship. Trade apprentice means an apprentice who undergoes apprenticeship training in any such trade or occupation.
Similar provisions are in place for graduate or technician apprentices who are defined as apprentices who hold, or are undergoing training in order that they may hold a degree or diploma in engineering or technology or equivalent qualification granted by any institution recognised by the Government and undergoes apprenticeship training in any such subject field in engineering or technology.
Generally every apprentice undergoing apprenticeship training in a designated trade in an establishment shall not be considered a worker and the provisions of any labour law will not apply to such apprentice. Also there is no duty imposed on the employer to offer any employment to any apprentice who has completed the period of his apprenticeship training in his establishment, nor is there any corresponding duty on the part of the apprentice to accept an employment under the employer. But where there is a condition in a contract of apprenticeship that the apprentice shall, after the successful completion of the apprenticeship training, serve the employer, the employer shall, on such completion, be bound to offer suitable employment to the apprentice, and the apprentice shall be bound to serve the employer in that capacity for such period and on such remuneration as may be specified in the contract.
If any employer contravenes the provisions of the Act, he may be punishable with imprisonment or with fine or with both.