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The scheme allows for a trainee to work for an ABA member for two years, during which time they are paid for both their working hours and the time they spend training.

The bookseller receives financial support from the ABA Educational Trust.

Previously this has been dubbed an apprenticeship but, with major changes to funding due across England this month, large employers will start paying an apprenticeship levy.

In short, the Enterprise Act 2016 gave apprenticeships the same legal status as degrees and the term ‘apprenticeship’ was protected to allow the government to take action if it is misused by training providers.

Trainee booksellers

The ABA Trust plans to apply for government recognition for ABA booksellers as apprenticeship providers.

Meanwhile, however, the association is obliged to avoid the term ‘apprentice’ and refer instead to ‘trainees’.

The trust has seen two trainees through to full-time employment in the rare book trade – Oliver Clegg at Sotheran’s and Hannah Aspinall at George Bayntun – and is currently looking for new candidates and ABA members to take part in the scheme.