Latest figures reinforce NIACE call for Apprentice Charter

18 December 2014

One in seven apprentices, over 120,000 people, are being paid less than the appropriate minimum wage according to the latest figures from two reports.

The reports – the Apprenticeship Evaluation – Learner Report and the 2014 Apprentice Pay Survey Report – show that:

  • The average pay for apprentices at Level 2 and 3 is £6.79 (£7.43 in Wales), which is about half of the average earnings for UK workers.
  • Hairdressing is the lowest paying sector – with an average wage of £3.95 – and has highest levels of non-compliance with almost half (42%) at Level 2 and 3 paid below the minimum wage.
  • A quarter of 16-18 year old apprentices, 20% of 19-20 year olds, 17% of 21-24 year olds and 8 per cent of those aged 25 and over, are paid less than the minimum wage.
  • There has been an 86 per cent drop in 25+ level 3 apprentices between August 2012 – January 2013 (41,700) and August 2013 – January 2014 (5,800).
  • 9% of apprentices are from BME groups.
  • 15% of Apprenticeships are in health, public services, care, travel and tourism sector but only 2% are in construction.
  • Two-thirds (64%) of all apprentices were already employed by their employer when they started their apprenticeship, a slight fall from last year, matched by a slight increase in new recruits.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“These figures are a cause for concern, especially as the government is now putting more power into the hands of employers. It’s wrong that apprentices aren’t even being paid the minimum apprentice wage. While there is cross-party agreement that Apprenticeships are the answer to youth unemployment, today’s figures clearly show that for many apprentices, the quality of the Apprenticeship is clearly not what it should be.

“This is why, in our Manifesto, we have called for the introduction of an Apprentice Charter. This will be a clear commitment from employers that their apprentices are given the best possible experience, providing them with a solid foundation – not just for their current role – but for the rest of their career.

“Meanwhile we want to hear from Government about how they’re going to enforce the national minimum wage and what action they’re going to take against employers who refuse to pay their apprentices properly.”