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Great apprenticeships - paid right

A good apprenticeship is a route to a rewarding career. But some apprentices are not even paid the legal minimum wage. We want to help apprentices get good training, be paid right and treated well.
Our objectives

The apprentice minimum wage at the moment is very low – only £3.90 per hour for a first year apprentice. But Government statistics show that 1 in 7 apprentices are being underpaid, with some sectors such as hairdressing and construction more likely to be underpaid. We want: 

  • Apprentices to know their rights from day one
  • Colleges and training providers to take a more active part in protecting the apprentices they teach
  • To help apprentices get good training, be paid right and treated well.

TUC research has found that up to a third of all apprentices are being cheated out of the minimum wage. This is backed up by the most recent Apprentice Pay Survey who found that apprentices are disproportionality underpaid despite being a minority in the labour market.

The law says apprentices must be paid at least a certain amount for every hour in work and in training (whether on or off the job). It's one of the most fundamental rights for anyone in work. Apprentices in tech and science

But the rules can get complicated.

At the South West TUC, we want to do something about this.

We believe it’s unfair to put the burden on young apprentices to confront their manager when they’re just starting out and at the bottom rung of the organisation.  

Colleges and training providers should take a more active part in protecting the apprentices they teach.

But it's also important that apprentices get to know their rights from day one.

Using our simple calculator below, apprentices can find out what their minimum wage is per hour, and then check their pay matches up. 


What should an apprentice be paid? 



Twenty years ago, a new law came into force that stated every person in work must be paid at least a certain amount per hour worked.

This is called the "National Minimum Wage".

All workers and apprentices in the UK aged 16 or more must be paid the national minimum wage. 

Over the years, the government have created different rates.

Today, your minimum wage rate depends on your age, and if you are as an apprentice, the year that you are at in your apprenticeship. 


  • Currently, the national minimum wage for all first year apprentices, (whether 16 or 25, or even 40 years old), is £3.90 for every hour in work and training or study. 


  • For second year apprentices (and those in their third or fourth year), the national minimum wage can change. This is because after your first year, your age is now important. 

Looking at the table below, if you're 19 years old and in your first year, you must be paid £3.90 per hour. But when you start you second year of your apprenticeship, as a 19 year old, your employer must now pay you £6.15 per hour. That's a big pay rise!  And if you're 21-24, or 25 and over, and in the second year of your apprenticeship, your national minimum wage is even higher. 

This is because you are more experienced, more skilled and contributing more to the workplace than when you first started a year ago.  

Minimum wage rates table for apprentices for April 2019-2020


Good employers will pay above the national minimum wage because they recognise that a better wage not only provides more security to its workforce, makes them happier, healthier and more productive, but it also means that the employer values their staff as a key element to the business. 

Use our PayCheck Calculator to find out your minimum wage, and check your pay today.

Know your rights. Don't let your pay slip. 

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