Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Poll: Award-winning council scheme sees apprentices paid £5,000 a year

07:30 08 January 2014

West Suffolk House in Bury

West Suffolk House in Bury

Archant

A borough council has praised award-winning apprenticeship schemes where staff working full-time hours are paid just £5,000 a year.

shares

St Edmundsbury Borough Council employs apprentices across its workforce on training contracts, who work full-time hours but are allowed to be paid as little as £2.68 per hour under government guidelines introduced in 2010.

The national minimum wage for under 18s is £3.72, while it is £6.31 for those aged 21 and over.

The St Edmundsbury scheme, which it operates alongside Forest Heath as the West Suffolk Apprenticeship scheme, was developed alongside Unison and won the Sarah Swane Workforce Development & Equality Award 2012.

A spokeswoman from St Edmundsbury said: “The benefits of being an apprentice for the employee are to ‘earn and learn’, gain valuable work experience, increase practical skills and find out about career paths available.

“Perhaps the most important benefit is gaining confidence, maturity and a sense of where you fit in the world, which are invaluable at the start of any career.”

Since 2010, 21 people have been employed under the government minimum apprenticeship wage by the West Suffolk Apprenticeship Scheme, with 10 now employed in permanent positions.

A spokeswoman from the Skills Funding Agency said: “The rate is set to be consistent with current arrangements in parts of the UK.

“The Low Pay Commission has recommended that is fair to apprentices and does not discourage employers from offering apprenticeships. The rate is a minimum, employers can pay more - and many do.”

The vast majority of West Suffolk apprentices are under 25 years old. They are employed on either 18-month or two-year contracts, and some attend college once a week.

Current apprentices work in a variety of roles, from finance and human resources through to mechanics and landscape gardening.

The spokeswoman from St Edmundsbury added: “Taking on someone as an apprentice gives us the chance to ‘grow our own’ by investing in young people through training to build the workforce for the future. Having young people within an organisation brings fresh ideas.

“There is no guarantee that an apprentice will be offered a full-time position within the organisation, but apprentices have access to internal vacancies so if opportunities arise they can take them up.

“Historically, St Edmundsbury has a good record of young people moving from an apprenticeship into full-time work, either with the council or other local employers.”

The £2.68-per-hour rate can only be paid to apprentices under 19 or those in their first year.

A report by the Sutton Trust published in October found an average of 11 people chasing every apprentice position.

shares

1 comment

  • This absolutely infuriates me - it is nothing more than a way for this despicable government to massage unemployment figures.

    Report this comment

    Ex-IP17

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yum Yums Cookery School, a nonprofit community organisation which runs cookery classes at primary schools in Ipswich, has received funding worth £500. Children at Whitehouse Primary celebrating the news. Adults L-R Dawn Burrows, Charlotte Burrows, Ron Impey, Emma Youngman.

An after-school cookery class scheme is celebrating after receiving a vital funding boost.

Foxglove Gardens

There is a dip in Foxhall Road, a depression that is in geographical terms the start of the Mill River, writes John Norman, of the Ipswich Society.

Auschwitz Birkenau

The stories of the holocaust have been recounted in history lessons for decades but there is a difference between what we read in books and what we see for ourselves as 15 Suffolk pupils discovered on a visit to Auschwitz .

Firefighters from Essex and Suffolk tackled the fire at Ashen.

Firefighters from Suffolk and Essex spent much of Saturday night tackling a blaze in a 3,000-tonne stack of straw at Ashen, near Stoke by Clare.

Should cyclists be allowed to go through red traffic lights when it is safe?

A cyclist rode through a red light and turned left while I was walking the dog this week. It was 6.20am, there was no other traffic so no risk but, officially, the cyclist had broken the law.

Once upon a time, shopping was my therapy, writes mum-of-three Ellen Widdup.

Air ambulance. Stock image

The air ambulance was called to the A12 at the Wangford bypass at around 5.40pm following reports that a woman had been injured in a car crash involving two vehicles.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24