In today's fast-paced and dynamic job market, young people and career changers often face the daunting challenge of gaining practical experience in their chosen field. This is where apprenticeships come into play, offering a unique opportunity to bridge the skills gap while earning a wage. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept of the apprenticeship wage, and answer all of the questions that you have about it.
What is the minimum apprenticeship wage?
The minimum apprenticeship wage is the lowest amount of money that a company can pay you while you are completing an apprenticeship programme. This amount gets reviewed every year in line with inflation.
As of April 2023, the National Minimum Wage for Apprenticeships is:
Age Minimum Wage
Aged 16-18 £5.28 per hour
Aged 19 or over (Year 1 of Apprenticeship) £5.28 per hour
Aged 19-20 (Year 2+ of Apprenticeship) £7.49 per hour
Aged 21-22 (Year 2+ of Apprenticeship) £10.18 per hour
Aged 23+ (Year 2+ of Apprenticeship) £10.50 per hour (National living
As you may notice, after the first year of completing your apprenticeship programme, your wage goes up to at least the minimum wage for your age category.
Why is it lower than National Minimum Wage?
The amount that you get paid in the first year of being an apprentice can be lower than the national living wage. This is predominantly due to the cost of your training programme.
While being on an apprenticeship programme, you are gaining a qualification, as well as practical skills for that particular trade. You have to think of apprenticeship programmes as an alternative to higher education. When you attend college or university, you do not get paid for this and most of the time you are actually paying for it instead!
It is important to remember that undergoing an apprenticeship programme provides you with an invaluable learning experience, and increases your expertise within your field, so that you can progress your career and secure a well-paying job after completion.
Are they actually lower?
As a company that primarily works with businesses to deliver apprenticeship programmes to their employees, almost ALL of our apprentices do not receive the minimum apprenticeship wage. Apprenticeship programmes are viewed as an enhancement to their employees current job responsibilities, aimed at boosting their qualifications within their industry or broadening their expertise to diversify into different roles within the company.
So, although it is possible that a company will charge you the national apprenticeship wage, the majority of the time many employers actually pay more, and trade unions push for employers to pay above the minimum rate too.
Benefits of Apprenticeships
Skill Development: Apprenticeships offer a hands-on learning experience, allowing individuals to develop practical skills that are highly relevant to their chosen career.
Earning While Learning: Unlike traditional education pathways, apprenticeships enable individuals to earn an income while they learn. This can significantly reduce the financial burden of education and make career development more accessible.
Industry-Relevant Experience: By working directly in their chosen industry, apprentices gain real-world experience that is highly sought after by employers. This practical knowledge sets them apart from job seekers with only academic qualifications.
Smooth Transition to the Workforce: Apprenticeships often lead to full-time employment with the same company after completion. The apprenticeship wage serves as a stepping stone to a higher-paying job and a stable career.
Reducing the Skills Gap: The apprenticeship model helps address the growing skills gap in many industries. Employers can train individuals in-house, ensuring that the workforce possesses the specific skills required for their operations.
Ultimately, as an apprentice your wage may be lower, however this is not as common as you think.
Nevertheless, do not be discouraged if the apprenticeship programme that you are applying for offers the minimum wage. Rest assured that you will be taught by experts within your field, equipping you with valuable skills, leading to a recognised qualification, all without incurring student debt, and significantly enhancing the likelihood of full-time employment upon completion of the programme.
Remember, this minimum wage is only temporary and frequently paves the way for more promising career opportunities in the future.
Check out our apprenticeship programmes to develop your skills and expertise.