Money money money…
It’s the question everyone is too polite to ask, but it’s also a question too important not to answer!
Sure, one of the best things about being an apprentice is earning while you learn, but how much exactly can you expect to get paid?
Apprenticeship minimum wage.
Like every type of job in the UK, apprenticeships are tied to a national minimum wage.
However, the national minimum wage for apprentices can vary depending on your age and what stage of your apprenticeship you are at.
For starters, the current minimum apprenticeship wage is £3.90 per hour.
This means if you are under 19, or over 19 but on the first year of an apprenticeship, your hourly pay must equal at least £3.90 in order to comply with the law.
If you are aged 19 years or older and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, then your pay is set by the national minimum wage.
The latest changes to the minimum wage took place in April 2019. Based on these figures, your apprentice wage (after completing your first year) should be:
- Aged under 18: £4.35
- Aged 18 to 20: £6.15
- Aged 21 to 24: £7.70
- Aged 25 and over: £8.21
Still confused? Check out this handy government calculator to confirm what you should be getting paid for your age and level.
Earning more money.
Now, you might be thinking: that doesn’t seem like very much, and, in part, you are right.
However, apprentice wages are lower than a minimum wage job because money is also being spent on your education, training and other subsidies.
Not all of the money being spent on your apprenticeship goes straight into your pocket. As well as paying your wage, employers pay your training costs, licenses, and examination fees.
On the plus side, many employers choose to pay more than the national minimum wage for their apprenticeships.
Forward-thinking organisations, many of which we work with, have opted to pay their apprentices the national living wage, in order to attract the best and most talented apprentices. This means that their workers can enjoy a better standard of living during their training, and are more likely to stay with the company after their education is complete.
While an apprenticeship wage may start out low, the qualifications and skills learnt will increase your earning potential long term. It will get your pay up and beyond the industry standard by the time you have completed your scheme.
Getting a pay rise as an apprentice.
Pay is a tricky subject in any job, but for an apprentice, it can be particularly thorny. Thanks to the apprenticeship levy and other training initiatives, specific funds are put aside to pay specifically for apprenticeships. Although this is great for increasing the number of great apprenticeship opportunities, it can make discussions around wages more difficult.
The good news is that there is nothing stopping you from negotiating a pay rise as an apprentice. If you are a good worker who is taking on more responsibility than was originally advertised, then it is likely that your organisation is going to want to keep you around. This said, it is not recommended to begin an apprenticeship on a wage that you cannot live on, even if you think you can negotiate your wage in the future, there are no guarantees.
Apprenticeship wage structures.
Thankfully, more and more apprenticeship providers are being up-front with their wage expectations, by listing their wage structures on their vacancies and websites. This provides a structure to increase your pay based on specific requirements, for example, years of progress or qualification milestones.
As with everything, your wage structure will depend on the level of your apprenticeship scheme as well as the industry or sector. However, it is not uncommon for some higher or degree apprenticeships to offer starting wages that rival graduate salaries, in order to attract talented school leavers who want to start working and earning straight away.
Money in the bank.
Every apprenticeship is different, but it is reassuring to know that all apprentices are entitled to be compensated for their time and effort. It is important to remember that apprentices can complete their training without accruing any student debt, whereas the average university debt is over £40,000.
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