National Apprenticeship Week 2018

New research from Learning and Work Institute released ahead of National Apprenticeships Week suggests one in five employers of apprentices are unsure of the rules on apprentice pay.

The findings from a survey of over 2000 businesses across England and Wales follows UK Government data showing that fourteen per cent of apprentices in Wales were paid less than the minimum wage they were legally entitled to.

As well as finding that 22% of employers hadn’t heard of an apprentice minimum wage, the survey also found that 54% of employers did not know an apprenticeship required off the job training, 43% didn’t know that this off the job training needed to be paid, and 41% did not know that minimum pay for apprentices aged over 19 increases in the second year of their apprenticeship.

Action is recommended in three areas:

*   Employer awareness. More needs to be done to ensure all employers are aware of the rules

*   Rights and responsibilities. Minimum wage entitlements and likely changes should be set out at the start of the apprenticeship, with training providers taking a lead

*   Enforcement. Apprentices should be clear about what to do if they think there’s a problem

David Hagendyk, Director of Learning and Work Institute Cymru, said:

“Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for individuals to access high-quality training and employment. But they are also a crucial part of our response to the changing world of work – especially in ensuring businesses have access to the skills they need. It’s vital therefore that every apprenticeship is good quality, and that apprentices are paid what they are entitled to.

“With one in five employers not aware of the rules around the minimum wage rates for apprentices and 14 per cent of apprentices not being paid what they are entitled to, with a rise of 36% of apprentices in their second year, it is clear that more needs to be done to make sure the rules are followed.

“Apprenticeships are an integral part of raising Wales’ productivity across the board. Employers, training providers, trade unions and government need to come together to find a solution that raises awareness as well as ensuring enforcement – so we can continue to promote apprenticeships as a route to high-quality employment for young people in Wales.”

  1. The research, undertaken by Learning and Work Institute, involved a B2B survey of 2,046 senior decision makers in a cross-section of employers between 23 Oct – 2 Nov 2017.A copy of the full report can be found at:

2. The Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2016 (Wales) is published by the UK Government.  It can be found here:

Relevant data taken from the report is below. Based on these figures, 14% of all apprentices in Wales assessed for non-compliance were paid below their national minimum wage entitlement.  This figure rises to 36% for just those in the second year of their apprenticeship.  The relevant quote in the report states:  “Looking only at Level 2 and 3 apprentices in Wales for whom compliance can be assessed, 14 per cent were paid below the appropriate NMW or NLW, in line with 12 per cent in 2014.”


Base (all Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships with known compliance in Wales) % paid NMW or higher % paid below NMW
Aged 16-18 or in first year of apprenticeship 1,246 92 8
Age 19-20 and in second year of apprenticeship 168 61 39
Age 21 – 24 and in second year of apprenticeship 186 63 37
Aged 25+ and in second year of apprenticeship 97 72 28