From education to employment

Booklet Released to Ensure Better Workplace Deal for Apprentices

The Trades Unions Congress (TUC) has taken a significant step towards protecting everyone involved in the workplace and guaranteeing the fair treatment of all workers with the launch of a guide for getting a better deal for apprentices.

The guide, entitled Your Rights as an Apprentice, is intended to outline the different types of programmes available whilst attempting to clarify what exactly is offered in an apprenticeship. It includes vital information in areas such as terms and conditions, rights at work and pay.

DfES Announce Pay Levels for Apprentices

This guide is issued at the same time as the publication of figures by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) revealing that apprentices earn, on average, £137 a week. The best-paid apprentices work in the electro technical sector with an average pay of £183 per week. The lowest paid of the apprentices work in hairdressing and receive, on average, £90 a week. The TUC, however, has evidence of some apprentices being paid well below the required £80 a week.

There is a growing concern at the TUC that young people entering apprenticeships seem to be moving into gender-specific sectors with the survey also revealing that women apprentices are already earning £40 a week less than their male counterparts on apprenticeships. There is also the problem of retention in apprenticeships, with many not finishing their course, often leaving to find better-paid jobs. The guide will give young people access to the union support and information they need and hopes to ensure that the small minority of unscrupulous exploitative employers can no longer exploit them.

TUC Fully Behind Apprenticeships

The TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances OGrady said: “The TUC fully backs the apprenticeship programmes and believes they give many thousands of young people the chance to earn and learn valuable on-the-job skills. We are encouraged that, on the whole, apprentices are being reasonably well rewarded for the work they are doing.

“We remain concerned that a gender pay gap appears even at this early stage in young peoples lives,” she continued. “Until more is done to address the images of jobs for the boys and jobs for the girls, that gap cannot be eradicated. It is essential that all apprentices get high quality training, support and decent pay to encourage them to stay the distance. Our rights guide outlines everything they need to know about the scheme and, crucially, their rights at work as an apprentice.”

Jethro Marsh

Do you know of apprentices being exploited? Tell us all in the FE Blog

Related Articles