Apprentice Wage Gap Day

Today (17th May), a person on the average salary will have made the amount an apprentice on the minimum wage (£6.40) will make in the entire year.

Apprentices who work 40 hours per week for 52 weeks will only make £13,312 per year, that’s just over a third of the median annual wage in the UK (£34,963). 

The National Society of Apprentices (NSoA) and National Union of Students (NUS UK) are marking the first ever Apprentice Wage Gap Day to highlight the insufficient pay of apprentices. 

Apprentices of any age can be paid £6.40 per hour in their first year of training, creating barriers to people from poorer backgrounds from upskilling through apprenticeships. 

In their Manifesto for our Future, NSoA and NUS UK are calling on all political parties to commit to raising the apprentice minimum wage to the Real Living Wage in the upcoming General Election. 

The Manifesto emphasizes how essential apprenticeships are to a Green Transition, helping oil, gas and arms workers retrain in more environmentally friendly industries. 


Commenting, NUS UK Vice President Further Education, Bernie Savage, said: 

“Apprenticeships should be an accessible way to gain a profession without incurring debt, but no one can live on £13,000 per year. 

“This puts off lots of working class people from undertaking apprenticeships, leaving them trapped in poorly paid industries, unable to develop their skills or achieve their dreams. 

“Apprenticeships are crucial to society; from builders to hairdressers to early-years teachers, so many essential workers start as apprentices. Their pay should reflect the value they contribute to all of our lives. 

“£6.40 per hour is poverty pay – it is barely half of the living wage. Any government that allows this to continue is callous as best and cruel at worst. 

“I hope to see all parties commit to the Real Living Wage for apprentices in their manifestoes for the upcoming General Election.”  


Commenting, Susan Loughlin from the National Society of Apprentices, said: 

“It is a common misconception that apprentices don’t need to be paid a living wage because we are all young people being supported by our parents, but this is not true. Many of us are estranged, living independently, or have children ourselves. In fact, we are the demographics often targeted for recruitment into apprenticeships. 

“Apprenticeships should be opportunities to upskill or reskill throughout one’s whole working life. They shouldn’t be only accessible to young people from wealthy backgrounds whose parents can afford to top up their income. 

“All political parties should prioritise a living wage for all, including apprentices, in the upcoming General Election. Creating an educated, highly skilled workforce is crucial to improving our country, to filling the skills gaps and encouraging social mobility and accessible education for all of us.   

“The idea that apprentices should have enough money to be able to get to work, have enough to eat, pay their rent and even afford a hobby is firmly in the political mainstream.” 

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