Apprentices were today benefiting from a 20 per cent boost to their National Minimum Wage to £3.30 an-hour.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured above) said that the inflation-busting increase, from the old £2.73-an-hour rate, was “the largest in history, making sure that apprenticeships remain an attractive option for young people”.
It came as the adult NMW also increased this morning from £6.50 to £6.70.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said that the rise for lowest-earning apprentices would mean that “those working 40 hours a-week would now have £1,185 more in their pay packet over the year”.
The increase, announced in March, represented a rejection of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) call in February for the apprentice minimum wage to rise by just 7p. The LPC itself had rejected a proposal from then-Business Secretary Vince Cable to bring the apprentice rate in line with the rate for 16 to 18-year-olds, then £3.79 per hour, but up by 8p to £3.87-an-hour from today.
The BIS spokesperson said: “By implementing a rate higher than the LPC recommendation, apprenticeships will deliver a wage that is comparable to other choices for work.”
The NMW rate for 18 to 20-year-olds has also increased today by 17p to £5.30-per-hour.
Mr Javid said: “As a one nation government we are making sure that every part of Britain benefits from our growing economy and today more than 1.4m of Britain’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a well-deserved pay rise.”
When the apprentice NMW wage increase was announced in March, Martin Doel, Association of Colleges chief executive, told FE Week: “The increase to the minimum wage for apprentices is very welcome in recognising the value that apprentices provide to employers and in recognising the costs that many apprentices have in transport and living costs. It makes the apprenticeship route still more attractive to young people seeking to earn while they learn.”
And spokesperson for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said at the time: “We recommended narrowing the gap between the apprenticeship and NMW rates but we need to ensure that this is done in stages.
“We have to ensure that increases in the apprenticeship rate do not have an impact on the number of employers providing these apprenticeship places by ensuring that the programme is properly funded in the sectors where the minimum wage is an issue.”