Apprentices: Pay

Department for Education written question – answered at on 23 October 2023.

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Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Minister (Women's Health and Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of the (a) flexibility and (b) rates of pay of apprenticeship schemes.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

Apprenticeships provide a fantastic opportunity for people to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to progress in their chosen careers, and we want to ensure that the programme is flexible so that apprenticeships are widely accessible to all.

To support flexibility, we enable those working full-time, part-time and flexible hours to undertake apprenticeships, and apprentices can take short or extended breaks (for example for parental leave) during their programme. For those working in sectors with short-term and project-based employment models, we have created flexi-job apprenticeships, and those with significant prior learning and experience can undertake an accelerated apprenticeship and achieve occupational competence more quickly. We also provide additional funding to support those apprentices who require reasonable adjustments to undertake learning.

The department is committed to ensuring that apprentice pay supports the attraction and retention of talented individuals into apprenticeships.

We recognise that apprentices may be experiencing financial pressures because of rises in the cost of living. In November 2022, the government accepted, in full, the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase the Apprentice National Minimum Wage by 9.7% to £5.28 from April 2023. This increase will help to counter the impact of rises in the cost of living, and the department continues to provide financial support to encourage more apprenticeship opportunities for all people.

Many employers choose to pay their apprentices more than the national minimum wage rates, recognising the value that apprentices bring to their workplace. Data shows that average hourly pay for apprentices’ ranges between £8.23 for Level 2 and £14.02 for Level 6.

We continue to make £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they take on apprentices aged 16 to 18, and apprentices aged 19 to 24 that have an Education, Health and Care plan, which can be used to support costs such as wages, uniforms or travel. In addition, we increased our care leavers’ bursary from £1,000 to £3,000 in August 2023.

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