Tuesday 24-02-2015 - 16:30
NUS has recently released Forget Me Not, a report which investigates the financial well-being of apprentices in the UK.
Although apprenticeships have been dominating the news headlines, few politicians or organisations have considered the experience of the everyday apprentice and the financial problems which many face.
Forget Me Not uses case studies to demonstrate how thousands of apprentices struggle to make ends meet on the apprentice minimum wage. For many apprentices this ‘exploitative wage’ means that they have to take out a bank loan or work a second job in the evening or at the weekend. For those who have children or whose parents rely on benefits the situation is even bleaker.
Therefore Forget Me Not calls on the Government to implement a range of reforms to make apprenticeships more accessible. Its recommendations include: increasing the apprentice minimum wage, providing free transport for all 16-19 year olds, extending the bursaries available to students in further education to apprentices and placing apprenticeships on the government’s ‘approved’ list of courses for benefit purposes.
Joe Vinson, NUS Vice President (Further Education), said: ‘This report shows that we could have a whole generation being shut out of vocational education because of financial constraints. I hope that our report will trigger a serious investigation in to the financial well-being of apprentices and lead all political parties to commit to making apprenticeships more accessible for all. Nobody is talking about the everyday reality for individual apprentices - it’s time we stopped talking about ‘the other 50 per cent’ and actually took action to fix the huge inequalities that exist between these types of education. Expansion of apprenticeship places just isn’t good enough, and it’s hiding the truth – we really need a new deal for apprentices.’
Joe has also written a blog about the report which you can read here.