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My contract with work states if I leave within 18 months I must pay for the mandatory training they sent me on of £1800. I am already qualified in my field and this course was just to learn their way of doing things no actually qualification was gained. Also I worked in this role previously so had some experience of what to do.

As I had no choice to attend the course as they would not of hired me if I had refused to go on it, are they legally allowed to make me to pay for it now?

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are they legally allowed to make me to pay for it now?

Unfortunately, yes. Contract law entitles them to charge you that amount only because --as it appears from your inquiry-- you signed the contract with (or despite) your awareness of that clause.

Perhaps from other terms in your contract you might have the possibility to overcome that liability. For instance, apropos of the fact that you possessed the requisite knowledge beforehand, whether the company intentionally misled you into thinking that you would gain any valuable knowledge from the training (other than the very particular way the company wants certain tasks to be performed). However, that is hard to assess without knowing more details of your situation.

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My contract with work states if I leave within 18 months I must pay for the mandatory training they sent me on of £1800

This information alone is sufficient to give the yes answer.

The contract terms are clear: if you leave early, you pay. The rest (whether the course is actually needed/beneficial) is irrelevant.

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  • The rest is not necessarily irrelevant. The "training" could be a scam or fraudulent tactic through which the employer intends to secure its supply of workforce under conditions that are significantly disadvantageous to the employee. In that case, the employer would be in violation of the presumed "good faith and fair dealing" that is prerequisite of any contract. Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 21:04
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    @IñakiViggers how would a training course lure workers into signing disadvantageous conditions? The justification of £1800 payment as training course expense is actually unnecessary — it can be a term of the contract on its own: you leave early, you pay full stop.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 21:26
  • "how would a training course lure workers into signing disadvantageous conditions?" It's not the training what lures workers, but their need for a source of income. The qualified candidate might agree upon contract clauses, and later on be disappointed because the actual conditions (such as those not reflected in the contract) are not as they were portrayed to him and/or not worth the level of income. Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 21:35
  • "because the actual conditions are not as they were portrayed" The asker does not express dissatisfaction with the conditions apart from "no actually qualification was gained.". If he was told that he would gain a qualification and thus saw the training as a part of the consideration (on top of his pay) then I would agree, but that's not the case is it?
    – Greendrake
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 21:54
  • "The asker does not express dissatisfaction" Not explicitly, nor does the OP state whether he still works there or has resigned. But his inquiry clearly reflects that he is wondering about the ramifications of leaving his employment prior to the 18th month, something unusual for an employee who's satisfied with his employment. Thus, it is in the OP's best interest to assess whether the mandatory & redundant training is the employer's unconscionable tactic to somehow force him to stay 18 months. If that's the case, the contract he signed might be void for violating the good-faith requirement. Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 23:13

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