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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

A Qualitative Study of Apprenticeship Pay: An IPPR report to the Low Pay Commission

This report, commissioned by the Low Pay Commission, examines variations in apprentice pay across the UK and the role of apprentice pay in young people's decisions to start and complete an apprenticeship. The report also considers the potential responses of employers to the introduction of a national minimum wage for apprentices.

Although most apprentices are employed, the majority are exempt from National Minimum Wage legislation, and pay rates for apprentices vary significantly across different industries and by gender and age. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has been asked by Government to consider how apprentice pay could be brought under the National Minimum Wage framework.

This report is concerned primarily with employed apprentices aged 16 to 24 working in hairdressing, retail, early years childcare, hospitality and social care - all low-paying sectors employing mainly female apprentices. We also looked at the engineering sector for comparison, as apprentice pay is normally higher here and the vast majority of apprentices are male. The findings presented in this report are based on focus group and survey research with apprentices and other young people across the UK, plus interviews with employers, training providers and careers advisers.