Rise in apprenticeship wage unwise, warn business bodies

Employer groups have criticised business secretary Vince Cable’s proposal to increase the apprenticeship national minimum wage by £1 an hour.

Katja Hall, deputy director-general of CBI, said: “Companies already pay their share into training, so raising the cost of taking these young people on would be unwise and put off many smaller firms from getting involved.”

John Longworth, director general of British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Most businesses value their apprentices highly, and already pay them significantly above the apprenticeship minimum wage rate. For that reason the proposed change will have minimal impact on businesses bottom line, but it must be up to the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to make evidence-based recommendations to ensure that wage rates are right for market conditions.”

Susannah Clements, deputy chief executive of the CIPD, said: “There is a business case for paying all apprentices above this current base minimum, as our research suggests that apprentices who are better paid are more likely to remain with the firm that has invested in their training. We also advise employers to increase the pay of apprentices as their training progresses, and thus their capabilities and performance increases. We are supportive of the proposal for the Low Pay Commission to recommend increasing the minimum wage for apprentices.”