A higher minimum wage will help promote apprenticeships as a “credible alternative to university for gifted young people”, the government has claimed.
The national minimum wage for apprentices is set to increase by 57 pence per hour to £3.30 in October. It comes amid concerns among employers about the quality of young people applying for apprenticeship positions.
A report published yesterday by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has outlined its reasons for what it has described as the “largest ever increase” in the minimum wage for apprentices, stating that the cash rise was an “important factor in helping to raise the profile of the programme and attracting greater numbers and a wider range of applicants”.
It added apprenticeship policy had a growing focus on quality, and the increase – which is larger than that recommended by the Low Pay Commission –better reflected the role of apprentices as “productive members of an organisation’s current workforce and as an investment in its future”.
The government has pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships during the course of this parliament. However, earlier this month, the TES reported the ambitious expansion plans could be harmed by funding delays, stating that the Skills Funding Agency had written to training providers to inform them it could not meet any skills programme growth requests until after the Budget on 8 July.