Here is Youth Ambassador Jenny’s response to how much an apprenticeship earns when she herself realised this when applying for an apprenticeship…
It started with a simple job search. I’ve recently moved ‘up North’ away from London to the North East of England, and in doing so am once again looking for work. With my experience in the youth and charity sectors, extensive volunteering, 2:1 degree, and determination to succeed, I figured it couldn’t be too difficult to secure work. I was very, very wrong.
Overlooking the general lack of opportunities available compared to London and increasingly the South (that’s a post for another time) I was shocked by the disparity between the quality and pay of jobs in my new area compared to the big smoke. I’m now living in Preston, so I’ve been looking for work in Manchester and Liverpool as both are fairly easy to get to. Being large cities I figured they would provide better options too.
However on searching media and copy-writing jobs, I came across an advert for a blog writing apprenticeship in a large company. It sounded great, until I dug into it a bit more. The wage was just £132 a week, which would barely cover travel and food, and the hours were standard 9-5 (possibly more as it stated 40 hours a week and that may not have included lunch breaks)! The job description sounded more like a full time, grad level role, but with an apprentice’s wage.
This is appalling; apprenticeships are meant to give opportunities to young people from all walks of life who don’t necessarily find further education or other routes an option. A lot of these young people come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and not all have support from family to undertake a scheme where they don’t earn enough to live.
By refusing to increase the minimum wage for apprentices in line with the minimum wage for other young people undertaking work, the government is effectively telling a large section of teenagers and twenty-somethings that they can’t reach for their dreams. If they are unable to afford to do an apprenticeship many will go into low skilled, low paying work where they become trapped and unable to progress. The PM has time and time again trumpeted his creation of more apprenticeships, but are they really as great as he’s heralding them to be?
Whilst studies and campaigns are currently underway around this issue, I felt compelled to share my views on the subject, as someone looking for work who is thankfully in a slightly better position. I’m lucky enough to have support from my boyfriend, and also access to lots of opportunities and experiences. Many young people aren’t, and they are the ones the government is failing at the moment.