Apprentices’ employers “notclued up on minimum wage”

Date: Friday 8th December 2017

MORE than one in four employers of apprentices in North West are unsure of the minimum wage rules, according to new research.

The findings from Learning and Work Institute come after a Government survey showed one in five apprentices across England reported being paid less than the minimum wage they are legally entitled to.

The Government is expanding apprenticeships, aiming for three million by 2020 and introducing an apprenticeship levy requiring large firms to invest.

But the research raises concerns over whether the Government will hit its target and the quality of some apprenticeships. Some 35 per cent. of North West employers said they had not recently employed apprentices and would not consider doing so in the future.

Learning and Work Institute surveyed 2,000 employers across England, finding high awareness of the national minimum wage, but low awareness of the rules for apprentices.

Among North West employers who were either employers of apprentices or had recently been:

l 38 per cent. were unaware apprenticeships required 20 per cent. off-the-job training

l 26 per cent. did not know this training needed to be paid.

l 27 per cent. did not know minimum wage rates rose after the first year of an apprenticeship.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said: “The expansion of apprenticeships is a good thing. It can help us meet our post-Brexit skills needs and give people the chance to earn and learn.

“However, it’s clear we need to do more to ensure everyone’s aware of the rules, for example we think training providers could play a bigger role in making sure employers know the minimum wage rules.”