#NAW2018: Majority of MPs agree apprenticeship minimum wage is not enough to live on


As Apprenticeship Week comes to a close, a survey by the Young Women’s Trust reveals that just one in five MPs think that the apprenticeship minimum wage is enough to live on.

Apprentices are legally entitled to £3.50 an hour, which is £4 an hour less than the National Living Wage. Research shows that, in some cases, apprentices are being given the same responsibilities and work load as non-apprentices. The apprentice minimum wage is set to rise at the start of April to £3.70 but will still not cover apprentices’ costs.

More than half of the 159 MPs asked said that they would not encourage someone aged 16-19 to undertake a job that pays just £3.50 an hour. However, conversely, 83% are concerned that some young people are being encouraged to go to university when an apprenticeship may be a better route to work for them.

The research also shows that two in five apprentices said their apprenticeship cost them more than they earned. Of the 500 apprentices that the charity polled, half struggle to cover basic living costs and transport to work. Others noted that they chose not to do an apprenticeship altogether because it wasn’t financially viable.

The apprenticeship minimum wage leaves apprentices with £7,280 less a year than workers aged 25 or more. In some cases, apprentices are being asked to do the same work and responsibilities as non-trainee workers.

Not surprisingly, the charity also found that raising the apprenticeship minimum wage is one of the most popular ideas the government could implement. Supported by 83% of respondents, this policy would be more popular than abolishing university tuition fees which 59% agreed with.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said “Young people, and especially young women, are being shut out of apprenticeships by low pay. Their wage barely covers the bus to work, let alone bills and rent. Even MPs agree that the £3.50 apprentice minimum wage is not enough to live on.

“If it is serious about supporting more people into apprenticeships, the Government must significantly raise the apprentice minimum wage.

“Creating a system that makes apprenticeships attractive and accessible to a wider range of people will bring huge benefits to employers and the economy as a whole. It’s time the Government made apprenticeships work for young people.”

More National Apprenticeship Week stories:


Thursday, 8 March 2018

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#NAW2018: Majority of MPs agree apprenticeship minimum wage is not enough to live on
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