One in seven apprentices are paid less than the minimum wage, new official figures have revealed.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ latest pay survey of more than 9,300 apprentices published today shows 14 per cent received less than the hourly minimum wage.
Apprentices aged 16-18 were the worst paid, with 24 per cent of those taking Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships surveyed receiving less than the minimum wage of £2.73 per hour.
David Hughes, chief executive of adult learning charity Niace, said the figures were “worrying”.
“Especially at a time when government is putting more power into the hands of employers, if they can’t even pay so many apprentices the minimum wage, it is worrying.
“All the political parties seem to think apprenticeships are the answer to youth unemployment, but the figures suggest that, for many apprentices, the quality of the experience is not what it should be,” he added.
Among Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices, 15 per cent were paid less than the appropriate minimum wage.
“By framework, non-compliance among Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices was higher than average in hairdressing (42 per cent) and children’s care (26 per cent),” the report said. “Among Level 4 and Level 5 apprentices, non-compliance was higher than average in accountancy (9 per cent).”
Among Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices, a lower proportion (8 per cent) of those aged 25 and over were underpaid than their younger counterparts.
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