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Let’s talk about apprenticeship salaries

Small piles of money in increasing amounts

Salary is incredibly important when applying for any job. It can be expected to be a factor that most people prioritise when looking for a new job. So, we understand the concerns about the apprenticeship salary which can ultimately deter people from progressing their career.

Priorities when looking for a job

It’s difficult to estimate exactly what the average priority is when looking for a job. But various sources suggest that among the top priorities are usually salary, career progression and workplace culture which can include work-life balance, benefits and employee well-being.

However, to provide more insight, we recently caught up with eight university and college students and recent leavers who participated in an internship with us at Kaplan. We asked them about their priorities when looking for a job, and seven out of eight (87.5%) of them explained how salary and career progression were among the top three factors that they look for in a job.

One of the interns stated that: “My most important factor when looking for a job is salary. Money makes the world go round. After this, things like autonomy and collaborative environments are aspects of a job that I value. But at the end of the day, you can’t eat without money.”

Apprenticeship minimum wage

The common perception of being an apprentice is that it is low-paid. This is why they are often targeted, or assumed to only be available for, those aged around 16-21 (who would typically have lesser commitments). However, it is possible to be on an apprenticeship and still get through the cost of living crisis if you have other financial commitments.

The national minimum wage for apprentices in the UK in 2023 is £5.28 per hour. This applies to apprentices who are in the first year of their apprenticeship or are under 21. After the first year, or those over 21, the minimum wage rises to £7.49 per hour.*

However, a lot of people don’t realise that this is the national minimum, and being an apprentice doesn’t mean that you have to be on that salary. For example, if you are currently employed and are interested in an apprenticeship, your pay doesn’t need to significantly decrease if you are already earning a healthy salary. You can progress and still be paid the same.

The same applies if you’re looking to change your role, switch employers, or start a new career through an apprenticeship. Although there is a national minimum wage, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is what you will be offered.

Are apprenticeships low-paid?

Ultimately, an apprentice’s salary all comes down to the employer and what they offer.

For example, we caught up with Email Marketing Specialist, Niamh Magee, who is currently enrolled on the Data User apprenticeship Level 3. She advised that she was already in employment before gaining an interest in the apprenticeship training, as she felt the advanced data skills would significantly support her job performance.

Although she wanted to upskill, she was initially worried about receiving a significant pay reduction due to common perceptions of apprentices earning minimum wage. However, after speaking with her employer, she found that her pay was not going to change. In fact, there would be more chance of her pay increasing as she progresses her career after completing the training, compared to if she didn’t opt for the apprenticeship.

Not only this, but Niamh also highlighted the ‘off-the-job’ training that the apprenticeship entails, where she can use one day of her working week to study and focus on her portfolio. So, in a nutshell, Niamh now gets paid the same as before her training, and can use the off-the-job time to focus on her studies… not bad!

Of course, we can’t guarantee how much your salary will be if you enrol on an apprenticeship. And every employer, workplace and job role will be different. However, what we can guarantee is that it is not always minimum wage - so you can look into upskilling or changing careers with the knowledge that you may not have to make such huge financial sacrifices.

Ready to start your career?

Browse through our apprenticeship programmes, or read more about how to talk to your employer about starting you on an apprenticeship.

You can also find our current vacancies online.

Become an apprentice and earn while you learn with a top provider

Find out more

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Let’s talk about apprenticeship salaries

Small piles of money in increasing amounts

Salary is incredibly important when applying for any job. It can be expected to be a factor that most people prioritise when looking for a new job. So, we understand the concerns about the apprenticeship salary which can ultimately deter people from progressing their career.

Priorities when looking for a job

It’s difficult to estimate exactly what the average priority is when looking for a job. But various sources suggest that among the top priorities are usually salary, career progression and workplace culture which can include work-life balance, benefits and employee well-being.

However, to provide more insight, we recently caught up with eight university and college students and recent leavers who participated in an internship with us at Kaplan. We asked them about their priorities when looking for a job, and seven out of eight (87.5%) of them explained how salary and career progression were among the top three factors that they look for in a job.

One of the interns stated that: “My most important factor when looking for a job is salary. Money makes the world go round. After this, things like autonomy and collaborative environments are aspects of a job that I value. But at the end of the day, you can’t eat without money.”

Apprenticeship minimum wage

The common perception of being an apprentice is that it is low-paid. This is why they are often targeted, or assumed to only be available for, those aged around 16-21 (who would typically have lesser commitments). However, it is possible to be on an apprenticeship and still get through the cost of living crisis if you have other financial commitments.

The national minimum wage for apprentices in the UK in 2023 is £5.28 per hour. This applies to apprentices who are in the first year of their apprenticeship or are under 21. After the first year, or those over 21, the minimum wage rises to £7.49 per hour.*

However, a lot of people don’t realise that this is the national minimum, and being an apprentice doesn’t mean that you have to be on that salary. For example, if you are currently employed and are interested in an apprenticeship, your pay doesn’t need to significantly decrease if you are already earning a healthy salary. You can progress and still be paid the same.

The same applies if you’re looking to change your role, switch employers, or start a new career through an apprenticeship. Although there is a national minimum wage, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is what you will be offered.

Are apprenticeships low-paid?

Ultimately, an apprentice’s salary all comes down to the employer and what they offer.

For example, we caught up with Email Marketing Specialist, Niamh Magee, who is currently enrolled on the Data User apprenticeship Level 3. She advised that she was already in employment before gaining an interest in the apprenticeship training, as she felt the advanced data skills would significantly support her job performance.

Although she wanted to upskill, she was initially worried about receiving a significant pay reduction due to common perceptions of apprentices earning minimum wage. However, after speaking with her employer, she found that her pay was not going to change. In fact, there would be more chance of her pay increasing as she progresses her career after completing the training, compared to if she didn’t opt for the apprenticeship.

Not only this, but Niamh also highlighted the ‘off-the-job’ training that the apprenticeship entails, where she can use one day of her working week to study and focus on her portfolio. So, in a nutshell, Niamh now gets paid the same as before her training, and can use the off-the-job time to focus on her studies… not bad!

Of course, we can’t guarantee how much your salary will be if you enrol on an apprenticeship. And every employer, workplace and job role will be different. However, what we can guarantee is that it is not always minimum wage - so you can look into upskilling or changing careers with the knowledge that you may not have to make such huge financial sacrifices.

Ready to start your career?

Browse through our apprenticeship programmes, or read more about how to talk to your employer about starting you on an apprenticeship.

You can also find our current vacancies online.

Become an apprentice and earn while you learn with a top provider

Find out more

Related articles

The past, present, and future of banking

The past, present, and future of banking

In this episode of our Learn Better podcast, Stuart Pedley-Smith spoke to the CBI Executive Director of Education, Tanya Retter.

Kaplan · 7 minute read

Mastering your CV: Tips for aspiring professionals

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We held a webinar to provide tips on how to create or update a strong CV and tailor it to specific job vacancies that you apply for.

Kaplan · 11 minute read

Considering a career in insolvency: What you need to know

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The insolvency profession is commonly regarded as part of the legal sector, but many accountancy professionals also pursue a career in this area.

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