Apprentice National Minimum Wage to rise by 10p per hour following Autumn Statement

The government revealed a 10p increase in the Apprentice National Minimum Wage following the Autumn Statement presented to the House of Commons yesterday (23rd November) by Chancellor Philip Hammond. This will see minimum pay for Apprentices rise from £3.40 to £3.50 per hour from April 2017.

The increase is greater than most of the other minimum wage increases, except that for 21 to 24 year olds, which will also rise by 10p per hour.

  • for 21 to 24 year olds – from £6.95 per hour to £7.05
  • for 18 to 20 year olds – from £5.55 per hour to £5.60
  • for 16 to 17 year olds – from £4.00 per hour to £4.05
  • for Apprentices – from £3.40 per hour to £3.50

Apprenticeship Ambassador Laura Cunningham started her Apprenticeship in 2011, when the Apprentice National Minimum Wage was just £2.60 per hour. She says: “This is fantastic news! This is a real increase from when I did my Apprenticeship 5 years ago. It shows a real commitment from the government for Apprenticeships and is a step in the right direction for young people to get involved and kick start their working career in today’s economy. Personally, I think the wage is still low but nevertheless, this increase of wages for Apprentices shows the ongoing changes to support Apprenticeships in the workplace.”

Although an employer can’t pay an Apprentice less than the minimum wage, many organisations in Oxfordshire choose to pay significantly more. The average wage in Oxfordshire is around £4.30 per hour for a 37 hour week. Living Wage employers like the University of Oxford pay all their Apprentices a starting salary of £8.25 per hour.

Oxfordshire Apprenticeships manager Sarah Cullimore says: "We are really pleased that the minimum wage for Apprentices will be rising to £3.50. But it is great that in Oxfordshire a lot of employers are already happy to pay much more than this, as they can see the benefits that Apprentices can bring to their business and they also want to attract the best candidates."

It’s also important to view an Apprenticeship as a package of benefits and gains, not just a job for pay. The experience and qualifications gained are invaluable in themselves and many employers offer workplace benefit and reward schemes, such as wage increases to reflect achievements or contributions towards food and/or transport.

More on the National Minimum Wage...

The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you’re an Apprentice - you must be at least school leaving age to get it. The National Minimum Wage for Apprentices applies to Apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of an Apprenticeship. All other Apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

Interestingly, there was no minimum wage for Apprentice before 2010!

For further details of the rates, see www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

Apprenticeship Levy

In other Autumn Statement news, forecasts released by the government as part of the Autumn Statement showed that predictions about the amount of money expected to be raised by the Apprenticeship Levy have fallen by £200 million. Original figures predicted that the Levy would be generating £3 billion a year by 2019/20. This has fallen to an estimated £2.8 billion, with projected figures estimating that it will be another 2 years before £3 million is reached in 2021/22.

For more on the Apprenticeship Levy, see our Q&A page.

What do you think?

Get in touch or join us on Twitter for Oxfordshire Apprenticeships Hour (#OAHour) every Thursday from 1pm to share your thoughts and views.