Emma Hardy, the MP for Hull West and Hessle, today called on the Government to help our local apprentices.
Speaking in Education Questions, Emma called on the government to reclassify apprenticeships as ‘approved education or training’. Such a move would entitle apprentices to incentives such as cheaper transport and free prescriptions. These are already available for young people still at school or college until age 19.
Apprentices, and especially younger apprentices, have typically been paid much less than those who are not in apprenticeships. The minimum wage for apprentices is £3.50 while the minimum wage is £7.05 and the Government’s living wage- which is paid only to those over 25- is £7.83.
Yet despite the difference in minimum wages, apprentices receive no discount on public transport, prescriptions or any other service.
Emma’s question was inspired after speaking to her constituent, Chloe who is on an apprenticeship. Chloe visits college for two days a week and pays a full train fare. She also needs to pay full prescription fees.
Speaking after Education Questions, Emma said: “Many people on apprenticeships spend some time in college learning their trade but they have absolutely none of the benefits available to other people in education.
“One of the reasons given by the government for allowing a lower wage for apprentices is because they are meant to be a period of training for those involved. The disparity between these two positions is very confusing. Why is it a period of training for the purpose of wages but not for the additional benefits that come from being classified? Constituents should rest assured that I will be doing everything I can to push this issue and make sure the government ends the disparity.”