employment 4 students - The UK's most visited student jobsite


Bumper 20% Pay Rise For Apprenticeships

17 Mar 2015

Bumper 20% Pay Rise For Apprenticeships

Apprentices are set to get a 20 per cent pay rise from October after the government announces the new National Minimum Wage rates.

The statutory minimum wage for young people working in an apprenticeship will rise from the current level of £2.73 (per hour) by 57p to reach £3.30 later this year. The rise will edge the apprentice rate for 16 to 18 year olds (and 19 year olds in their first year of an apprenticeship) closer to the £3.70 an hour level that the government hopes to achieve, bringing apprentices in line with their peers who work in regular jobs.

The comparatively generous 20 per cent pay rise will be the biggest increase that apprentices ever have seen in the UK. And, indeed, it will be 8 times more than the 7p increase which the Low Pay Commission (LPC), an independent body which advises the government, actually advocated - but which the government rejected.

In contrast - but in line with LPC recommendations - the headline National Minimum Wage for adult workers is set to rise by just 20p to £6.70 - and by 17p to £5.30 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20; increases of around 3 per cent compared to the 20 per cent which apprentices will receive.

16 and 17 year old non-apprentices will receive the lowest overall increase in wages next October, gaining just a 2 per cent pay rise of 8p to earn a minimum of £3.87 an hour.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said: “This is just one of the many ways in which we've created a fairer society whilst building a stronger economy. If you work hard, this government is behind you all the way. Whether you're on low pay or starting your dream career through an apprenticeship, you will get more support to help you go further and faster.”

Prime Minister David Cameron billed the announcement as a real win for British people, young and old, who don’t mind a bit of hard graft:

“At the heart of our long-term economic plan for Britain is a simple idea - that those who put in, should get out, that hard work is really rewarded, that the benefits of recovery are truly national. That's what today's announcement is all about, saying to hardworking taxpayers, this is a Government that is on your side. It will mean more financial security for Britain's families and a better future for our country,” said the Prime Minister.

However, not everyone was happy with the announcement of such pay hikes for apprentices and such low increases for the average worker. Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, accused the government of misleading working families, who, he alleges, are now worse off.

“This 20p rise [in the headline rate] falls far short of the £7 minimum wage which George Osborne promised over a year ago. Where under David Cameron we've seen the value of the minimum wage eroded, we need a recovery for working people,” said the Labour MP.

With the General Election coming in just a couple of months time, John Cridland, director general of The Confederation of British Industry, also hinted that there could be political advantage to be gained by offering apprentices such a generous pay hike:

“It's disappointing that the Government has rejected the LPC’s recommendation on the apprentice rate. The national minimum wage has been one of the most successful policies of recent years, thanks to the independence of the commission, so its politicisation is worrying,” said the director general.

Mr Cridland did, however, concede that it was ‘positive’ that the government had accepted the Commission's advice on adult and youth minimum pay rates.

Find your perfect job now!

Register now to let employers find you and be notified about the latest relevant jobs