Safeguarding Apprentices from the Influences of Extremism
- As an employer you have a responsibility to safeguard the people in your care. You may notice changes in behaviour from apprentices before their peers or parents.
- As an employer you play an important role in helping build the resilience of apprentices against all forms of harm, and preparing them for life in modern Britain.
- In this section you will find information to help you understand your ‘Prevent’ responsibilities and where to access support.
Understanding the threat from extremism and terrorism in the UK
What is extremism?
Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.
(Source: Counter Extremism Strategy – October 2015)
What is terrorism?
Terrorism is defined as action designed to influence the government, intimidate the public, and done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause, that endangers or causes serious violence or harm to people, property, or seriously disrupts or interferes with an electronic system.
(Source: Terrorism Act – 2000)
According to the Home Office the current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is SEVERE. This means a terrorist attack is HIGHLY LIKELY.
Link for further information on threat levels: https://www.mi5.gov.uk/threat-levels
"The greatest current challenge comes from the global rise of Islamist extremism. We see this in the violence of Al Qa’ida (AQ) and Daesh (also referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL], Islamic State or IS). The appalling attack in Tunisia in June 2015 took the lives of 38 people, 30 of them British. More than 750 UK linked individuals have travelled to take part in the Syrian conflict. Worryingly we have seen examples of women, children and families buying into Daesh’s extremist narrative and travelling to live under their brutal regime. Islamist extremists have also inspired the overwhelming majority of over 40 terrorist plots which have been disrupted since the London bombings of 2005.”
(Source: Home Office 2016)
Who or what is Daesh?
- Daesh was preceded by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an Al Qa’ida affiliated group established in 2006. Following the group’s expansion into Syria and its consistent disobeying of orders from Al Qa’ida’s leadership, Al Qa’ida issued a statement disowning Daesh in early 2014. In June 2014, Daesh spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani declared it had established an Islamic caliphate with its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph Ibrahim.
- Daesh inherited much of its ideology from Al Qa’ida, focussing on the formation and consolidation of an Islamic caliphate. It is noted for its brutality and indiscriminate killing of other Muslims. Daesh rejects the legitimacy of all other jihadi organisations and considers itself exclusive in its representation as the only legitimate religious authority.
- Daesh’s activity in the region and its professional media output have led to an unprecedented number of attacks carried out in its name, exporting the threat to countries with little or no history of terrorism, and inspiring groups to break former allegiances.
What are the origins of extreme right-wing activity in the UK?
- Oswald Mosley’s interwar British Union of Fascists (BUF) was the first significant extreme right movement in the UK. Influenced by Mussolini, the group held that Britain was in terminal decline and could only be saved by the regenerative force of fascism. After 1934, antisemitism became a core element of the BUF’s ideology, with the group regularly marching in Jewish areas of London, which notably prompted the battle of Cable Street in 1936.
- After World War II, extreme-right movements such as Colin Jordan’s British Movement and the National Front focused on opposition to non-White immigration. The movements were largely street based and had little electoral success. During the 1970s and 1980s marches by the National Front frequently resulted in serious public disorder.
- Today in the UK, there are numerous active extreme right-wing groups, sharing an ideology centering on an intense hostility to minorities and a belief that violence between ethnic and religious groups is inevitable. Alongside antisemitism and racism, hostility to Islam has now become a common element of extreme right ideology
How do people become radicalised?
As young people grow and become more independent, it is not unusual for them to take risks, explore new things and push boundaries. These years are often a time when young people will be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement. This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who may claim to offer answers, as well as identity and a strong social network. Extremist groups often target young people for this very reason, using the internet and social media to spread their ideology. Although the radicalisation process is unique for each individual, in general terms, four key elements are usually present.
(1) A vulnerable person will be introduced to an
(2) extremist ideology by a
(3) radicalising influencer who, in the
(4) absence of protective factors, such as a supportive network of family and friends, or a fulfilling job, draws the individual ever closer to extremism.
The path to radicalisation
(1) Vulnerabilities or local factors - these are the personal factors that make an individual more susceptible to radical messages. These factors can be extremely diverse and could include issues such as behavioural or family problems, lack of belonging, and involvement in criminality
(2) Ideology - underpinning the radicalisation process is that an individual has been exposed to an idea or ideology or a set of beliefs that appears credible and appeals to the person in question. Ideology in itself is not a negative thing, but it can be exploited/misconstrued and used to a negative effect.
(3) Radicaliser - an individual who encourages others to develop or adopt beliefs. The internet is increasingly being used as a mechanism by which to radicalise and purvey extremist messages without the need for individuals to meet in person.
(4) Absence of protective factors and/or obstacles - this means a positive influence in a young person’s life that is able to intervene in the radicalisation process is absent. This could include factors such as a parent or teacher who spots a child is displaying warning signs or behavioural problems and intervenes to help. Or it could be a more formal Prevent process such as Channel which aims to address the individual needs of the particular person for example through a mentoring scheme.
Who is vulnerable to radicalisation?
It is possible for any person to be exposed to extremist influences. People from very different backgrounds have been radicalised, including people from stable homes, who were doing well educationally.
However, it’s important to keep things in perspective and remember that for most young people, the risk that they will become involved with extremist groups is very low.
To be in the best position to protect your apprentices, you should be aware of the factors that may make them more vulnerable to radicalisation. You should bear in mind that these factors are a guide only, and you should use your professional judgment to decide whether an apprentice might be vulnerable.
Struggling with their sense of identity
- Feelings of distance from their cultural or religious heritage and questions about their place in the society around them
- A search for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging
- Isolation and alienation from UK values and culture
- Family tensions
- Experience of a traumatic event
- Low self-esteem or unmet aspirations, including perceptions of injustice and a feeling of failure
- Having a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination
- Lack of strong role models
- Contact with individuals who hold extremist views
- Special educational needs – difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others and understanding the consequences of their actions
- Local community tensions
- Events affecting country or region of origin
- Having family or friends who have travelled abroad to join extremist groups, for example ISIL
- Exposure to a learning environment which does not present balanced arguments and diverse points of view
- Experiences of young offender institutions or imprisonment
- Poor reintegration into society following a period of imprisonment
- Previous involvement with criminal groups
What are the warning signs?
There is no single path to radicalisation. It can occur quickly, or over a longer period of time. Sometimes there are clear warning signs, and in other cases the changes in personality or behaviour are less obvious or can be attributed to normal teenage behaviour. As an employer, you will be well placed to recognise when changes to an apprentice’s behaviour feel out of character. You should have confidence in your judgment and seek advice if something feels wrong.
Here is a guide to some possible warning signs of radicalisation:
Attitudes and opinions
- Argumentativeness or aggression, and an unwillingness to listen to/consider points of view which contradict their own
- Refusal to engage with, or being abusive to, peers who are different to themselves. This could include race, religion, gender or sexuality
- Susceptibility to conspiracy theories and a feeling of persecution
- Changes in behaviour and peer group
- Distancing themselves from friends and peer groups, both online and offline
- Recent conversion to a new religion
- A significant change of appearance/clothing and/or behaviour
- Rejection of activities they used to enjoy
- Excessive time spent online or on mobile phones, and secretiveness or reluctance to discuss what they are doing
- Changes in online identity, including social media profile image or name. Some will even have two parallel online profiles, one their ‘normal’ or old self, the other an extremist identity, often in another name
- Support for extremist ideologies and groups
- Expressions of sympathy with the ideology of extremist groups or justification of their action
- Expressions of sympathy or understanding for other young people who have joined or attempted to join these groups
- Accessing extremist material online, including violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)
- Possessing or accessing other forms of extremist literature
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters
- Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations
What are my responsibilities as an employer?
Since July 2015, all FE Institutions, including Apprenticeship providers, have a legal responsibility to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This is known as the ‘Prevent Duty’.
Key Training has robust safeguarding procedures in place and will respond to any concerns raised by an employer as swiftly and effectively as possible.
We have produced an Employer Guide that clearly sets out what Key Training considers to be our responsibility and our expectations of each employer. This guide also covers other aspects of our apprentice training programme related to Prevent such as Respecting Equality and Diversity, Safeguarding, e- Safety and British Values. At Key Training the umbrella name for these elements is RSVP.
Click here to view or download your copy of the Employer RSVP Guide.
Further information on your specific obligations under the ‘Prevent Duty’ can be found in the Prevent Duty Guidance for FE and the revised Prevent Duty Guidance downloads at the bottom of the page
What should I do if I have concerns about an apprentice?
If you have concerns that one of your apprentices is being or has been radicalised, contact their allocated Training Consultant who will raise the concern with Key Trainings Safeguarding Champion.
If the Training Consultant is unavailable, contact Key Trainings Safeguarding Champion directly
Phone or text: 07971 790 259
Imminent threat of harm to others
If you think someone is in immediate danger; may be planning to travel to join an extremist group, either alone or as part of a family unit or friendship group; or if you see or hear something that may be terrorist related, trust your instincts call 999 or the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
For non-urgent concerns
The Department for Education has a counter-extremism helpline which you can call for advice on 020 7340 7264.
- Report terrorism online via: www.gov.uk/report-terrorism
- www.educateagainsthate.com provides further information with regard to understanding radicalisation and extremism.
- www.preventforfeandtraining.org.uk provides information and online training with regard to the Prevent Duty which is specific to Further Education and Training Providers.
- www.internetmatters.org has lots of information, advice and resources which can be used to help people stay safe online.
- www.ceop.gov.uk - CEOP works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account, protecting children from harm online and offline.
- www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/0 Information and support for safe use of the internet.
Prevent Duty Guidance (259KB)
Government Extremism Strategy (968KB)
Extreme right wing symbols (255KB)