Apprentices and Gambling

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 22 June 2023
Alexa Roseblade
Issues covered: Money management; Apprenticeships; Gambling; Wellbeing

Gambling has become increasingly accessible, particularly to young people who are transitioning into adulthood and may be earning their own money for the first time. For employers, this poses a potential concern as young apprentices or students on placement, who may be vulnerable to gambling harm. To ensure a supportive and responsive work environment, it is important for companies to be aware of the signs of gambling harm and know how to provide support.

For many apprentices, this could be their first job and the first time that gambling has been legal for them, this coupled with gaining access to money and feeling more independent, could lead to an urge to experiment with gambling activities. The thrill and excitement associated with gambling can be appealing to young people who are seeking new experiences. It is crucial for employers to recognise the potential harm that gambling can cause and take measures to educate and support young apprentices in making informed choices when it comes to finances and well-being.

Five signs to look out for if you are concerned about someone’s gambling:

  • Withdrawn – Not wanting to join in or losing interest in usual activities or hobbies like going out with friends or spending time with family can be one of the early warning signs that gambling could be harmful. Wanting to stay at home more frequently, needing to check their phone constantly to check the latest results as so much is riding on a bet. Presenteeism - Distracted from work and college, having longer than expected lunch, tea or bathroom breaks, coupled with a preoccupation with their phone, are possible signs that someone is preoccupied with gambling.
  • Changing mood – There could be noticeable changes to their mood and behaviour, including looking worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason. Do peers, tutors or colleagues notice a trend in behaviour patterns
  • Sleeping problems – If someone is chasing losses and losing money they might not be sleeping. Anxiety or constant worrying can lead to people being up all hours. Continuing to gamble on their phone during the night could lead to sleep patterns being affected.
  • Financial signs – Has money gone missing from bank accounts, or are they regularly short of money on a regular basis and are having to borrow money? There may also be more pressure to get loans out, chasing losses now not just to generate income. Is the person short of money on a regular basis, possibly within days of being paid, asking for advances on their wages or borrowing money from their peers/work colleagues? Are they frequently asking for extra hours but seem to receive no benefit from additional pay?
  • Lying – Are you noticing that this person is lying about what they’re doing with their time, or how much money they have that could be for gambling? This can be risky as they will feel very vulnerable at being found out and very low that they have let people down

It’s important as an employer of apprentices that you are supportive and mindful of the signs mentioned above. There are many ways to address this promptly and companies can provide the necessary support and resources to help young people overcome gambling harms and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Ways you can provide support for apprentices:

  • Offer financial literacy courses or workshops to teach apprentices about budgeting, saving, and responsible money management.
  • We deliver a range of different workshops and training for professionals working with young people to equip them with the knowledge and information about the current gambling landscape. Including emerging trends like crypto, gaming and skins betting. This training enables participants to feel confident identifying the signs of harmful gambling and having meaningful conversations about them.
  • Provide age-appropriate educational resources: Offer information and resources about the risks and consequences of gambling harm. GamCare offers a variety of support leaflets free of charge.
  • If you recognise an apprentice is experiencing gambling harm, assure them that this will be handled confidentially, respect their privacy and main trust throughout the process. You can refer a young person to BigDeal which is a place for young people to find information and support related to gambling harm.
  • Be mindful that there could be many things that could trigger a person’s gambling, for example, playing games, work competitions, sweepstakes, if the role is target based this could trigger competitiveness in a person also.

How to access support for you and your apprentices:

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This article is correct at 22/06/2023

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Alexa Roseblade

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