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Apprentice ‘banter’ is a hot topic in the industry at the moment with questions being raised as to whether this banter, is actually classed as bullying.

This topic was highlighted in recent events in which eighteen-year-old apprentice George Cheese was reported to have been locked in a cage and set on fire by his colleagues. The young apprentice suffering from mental health issues already, unfortunately then went on to kill himself. Read the full story here.

Of course, not all banter in the workplace and on site goes this far. In fact, the incidents that took place at the Audi garage and the attitude of George’s work colleagues appalled many. It was during an inquest into George’s death that it was found that his work colleagues didn’t actually think that they had done anything wrong. His line manager stated that instead, it was just “banter” and “horseplay”.

He continued: “I was in the workshop when a prank was played on George and he was set on fire.”

“It did not go too far. We knew where to draw the line.”

“It was not bullying.”

However, many reading this strongly disagreed. Stuart Richards argued: “setting fire to young people with mental health issues isn’t quite banter though, is it? It’s just being a total pr*ck! They said they knew where to draw the line. They set fire to the guy, how far is their line?”

Other users agreed, describing, “there’s a fine line between having a laugh and taking it that step too far into bullying.”

“Locking the kid in a cage and setting him on fire is definitely bullying and doing it to the point where he takes his own life is disgusting. Every workplace has banter, it makes our jobs easier and brings people togeather, unfortunately, there are the bullies who take things to far.”

The question is though, where is the line drawn in relation to apprentice jokes? What counts as banter? And what is, in fact, bullying? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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