What does the Budget mean for apprentices and their employers?

It was revealed earlier this week, ahead of the Budget, that the National Minimum Wage for apprentices will increase by 20% from October 2015. George Osborne has since confirmed this in his sixth Budget as chancellor, but what does it mean for apprentices and businesses?

The wage increase for Britain’s apprentices will allow vocational pathways to be seen as credible route to a career career path for the next generation of school leavers.

Rebekah Wallis, director of people and corporate responsibility at Ricoh UK, said: “Giving trainees a pay boost is a vital incentive to encourage more young people to consider high quality apprenticeship schemes as a serious career option. Across the UK, many large businesses are already investing heavily in developing these schemes to attract ambitious new talent and create a well-rounded workforce with practical experience. This announcement will further enhance the reputation of Britain’s apprenticeship programmes as a rewarding, and credible career route for the next generation of young people. In response, businesses must expand placement programmes to meet demand for these exciting new opportunities.”

Osborne also announced that NI payments for employing under 21s will be abolished from April, much to the delight of business owners. He added: “Next April we will abolish it for employing a young apprentice. And I can confirm today that one million small businesses have now claimed our new Employment Allowance.”

Kathy McArdle, CEO of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, said: “I welcome the government’s ongoing commitment to apprenticeship incentive schemes which go a long way to tackling the endemic problems of skills shortages and providing necessary opportunities for young people. However, I’d hoped the chancellor would have announced a simplification of these schemes to enable SMEs and small businesses to take on an apprentice without having to navigate their way through a minefield of administration and bureaucracy. It’s imperative that we streamline the process and make it easier to support young people into employment.”