YWT says it’s time to make apprenticeships work for young people

Thursday 12 October 2017

Young Women’s Trust says it’s time to make apprenticeships work for young people, as new data shows drop in numbers 

YWTData released today shows that the number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen, despite the Government’s target of creating three million more apprenticeships by 2020 and the introduction of the ‘apprenticeship levy’ this year to encourage employers to take on apprentices. Between May and July 2017, the number of apprenticeship starts was 43,600, compared to 113,000 in the same period the previous year – a 61 per cent decrease. Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“The Government is right to recognise the importance of apprenticeships in helping young people into work but is at risk of failing in its target to create more apprentices. 

“Young women in particular can struggle to start and stay in apprenticeships due to low pay, a lack of support and gender stereotypes that shut them out of vital sectors like construction and engineering.  

“Young Women’s Trust would like to see clear pathways made available to young people with low or no qualifications, so they can start apprenticeships and progress to the higher levels. Much greater provision of part-time and flexible apprenticeships would also help young mothers and carers in particular, who often have to balance care with work, to start and stay in apprenticeships. 

“The Government must also raise the apprentice minimum wage if it is serious about supporting more young people into apprenticeships. Lots of young people tell us they can’t afford to do an apprenticeship; the £3.50 an hour minimum wage barely covers the bus to work, let alone bills and rent. It’s time the Government made apprenticeships work for young people.” 


Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust (www.youngwomenstrust.org) supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty.
  2. Young Women’s Trust released a new report on 11 October 2017 showing that apprentices are struggling to get by on the £3.50 an hour apprentice minimum wage. The full report can be found here: https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/assets/0000/8060/Paid_Less_Worth_Less.pdf
  3. Young Women’s Trust released a report into apprenticeships, ‘Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women’, in 2016. The report found that:
    1. Women tend to work in fewer sectors than men.
    2. Women receive lower pay than men; an average of £4.82 an hour compared with £5.854. Male apprentices get paid 21% more per hour, leaving women potentially over £2000 worse off per year.
    3. Women are less likely to receive training as part of their apprenticeship. Young Women’s Trust polling with ComRes found that 7% of young women said they received no training at work, compared to 4% of young men. 23% received no training outside of work, compared to 12% of young men.
    4. Women are more likely to be out of work at the end of their apprenticeship. 16% of women said that they were out of work, compared to 6% of men.
    5. As the Government strives to meet its target of creating 3 million apprenticeships by the end of this parliament in 2020, action is required to prevent these trends becoming further entrenched. Apprenticeships need to serve young women better and enable the full labour market to benefit from young women’s talents.
    6. Organisations are signing the Young Women’s Trust pledge to commit to improving gender diversity on their apprenticeship programmes. The pledge states that: “Our organisation recognises the value of gender diversity and will take action to increase the representation of young women in our apprenticeship programmes.”
    7. For more information or to speak to a case study, please contact Bex Bailey on bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or 07963018281.