The new Skills Minister has made his first comments since his appointment by new PM Theresa May, and has suggested government should look into introducing a National living wage for apprentices. Robert Halfon said the move would enhance the credibility and attractiveness of apprenticeships, which are currently exempt from the living wage legislation.
And Halfon said that effort would be further boosted by the creation of a Royal Society of Apprentices. The minister was at pains to point out that government legislation could only do so much- it was also up to employers, parents and students to understand and promote work-based training as a viable route into work.
‘We need to explain why apprentices are important’
“You can have all of the government policies in the world, but none of it will matter unless you change the culture and way apprentices are seen,” Halfon said. “My dream is that if someone says at a dinner that they’re doing an apprenticeship and another person says they’ve been to Oxbridge, that people will be more impressed by the apprentice than the person who goes to Oxbridge … We need to explain why apprentices are important.
“It’s not just about economic productivity, which, of course, is central to the country because our productivity is not as high as it should be. It’s also a matter of social justice.”