Apprentices’ prospects ‘not rosy’

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ONLY a third of modern apprentices in Scotland received a pay rise in the six months after they completed their training programmes, a new study has shown.

That compares with 82 per cent of all other private sector workers who landed a pay rise last year, according to research carried out by Incomes Data Services.

Apprentices who are 21 years of age and over are entitled to make the minimum wage of £6.19 per hour.

But apprentices below the age of 19 or those who are in their first year make only £2.65, a level that has been raised in recent years but has been branded by some bosses as “disgusting”.

Nevertheless, the research commissioned by Skills Development Scotland, which oversees the programme, found that 93 per cent of those who had completed modern apprenticeship training were still satisfied with the results.

More than half of modern apprentices already have a degree, a higher national diploma or certificate, or a third level Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ), the research found. Only 11 per cent of all modern apprentices quizzed in the survey of 2,000 had no qualifications prior to signing up to the programme.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Trades Union Congress said final rates of pay are dependent on what sector the apprenticeship is taken in, with roles in engineering in particular being “like gold dust”.

She said: “The issue with the modern apprenticeship scheme is that it leads to varying degrees of quality of career depending on what apprenticeship you do. Some like those in childcare or hairdressing don’t lead to careers with the same earning potential.

“Our understanding is it is not completely rosy.”