max temp: 13°C

min temp: 12°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


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

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.

1 comment

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

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

John Lewis opened in Chelmsford last month

An Essex woman is calling on retailers to do more for larger women after feeling “worthless” during a recent trip to the new John Lewis store in Chelmsford.

The puppy had horrific injuries and vets were forced to put it down to end its suffering

An eight-week-old Jack Russell terrier suffering from devastating injuries was handed to vets in Braintree on Monday.

Pupils of Haughley Primary School with Halloween lanterns they made in October 1987.

Halloween is just around the corner, meaning pumpkin carving and trick or treating will take over our lives for the next few days.

Enchanted Forest, Anglo Saxon village, West Stow - Pamela Bidwell

This week our iwitness themes was eerie Suffolk - open to anything that may spook or look odd.

Pigeons gathering for an early morning meeting at the farm gate - by Heather Tanner

Everyday our readers send in photos to iwitness24 that they have taken while out and about along the Suffolk coast, visiting one of our many beauty spots or while relaxing in their own gardens.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court

Magistrates’ courts could return to towns such as Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds, the police and crime commissioner has said, despite the Government shutting all but one of Suffolk’s summary courthouses last month.

CCTV images of a burglary in Ipswich

Police have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to after a home in Ipswich was burgled last month.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24