A report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research this week shows that for around 166 000 apprenticeships, there are over 1.8 million applications, meaning that only 9% of applications end in a placement.
Apprenticeship schemes were designed to help school leavers find a place in the world of work. However, the report states that this is no longer working, with two-thirds of apprenticeships going to those already in work.
More worrying, perhaps, is the financial implication of the already-employed working as apprentices. The apprentice minimum wage is £2.73 an hour, compared to £6.50 an hour for over 21s. When current estimates place the living wage at £7.85, rising to £9.15 in London, the gap between what people are being paid and what people need to live is widening into a darkened abyss.
The IPPR’s report found that apprenticeships are being used by companies as a cheap way of funding essential staff training, suggesting that staff are lacking the skills needed by the industry.
The Queen’s speech, currently taking place, is believed to contain the news that 3 million further apprenticeships are to be created to help counteract the crisis in youth unemployment in the UK.
42% of apprenticeship places are given to the over 25s, despite this age group making up only 7% of applications. What’s more, the report also claims that a quarter of under-19s did not even receive the miserly minimum wage they can expect under an apprenticeship.
It is clear that something is going horribly wrong with the UK jobs market. At Bringing Words to Life, we aim to support all young people into finding their way along the path to employment and a happy life as a contributor to our economy.