Good quality apprenticeships improve pay and employment prospects but many apprentices are not reaping these benefits according to recent reports.
Research by the Young Women’s Trust, which looked at 500 apprentices found that many are spending more than they earn. The research also found a gender pay gap, with the average wage for a male apprentice being £7.25 and the average wage for a female apprentice being £6.67.
This disparity in earnings may in part be because when it comes to apprenticeships, those that pay well tend to be in industry areas dominated by male apprentices; for example, for every 25 male engineering apprentices there is only one female.
The Sutton Trust report, Better Apprenticeships highlights the fact that ‘many apprentices are treading water, with the majority of apprentices under 25 years old starting their training below their existing level of attainment. For example, a student may leave school with their A-levels, which are at level 3 and begin a level 2, intermediate apprenticeship.
A further issue is the lack of apprenticeships at an advanced or higher level – in 2015/16 higher apprenticeships made up only five per cent of the total.