More can still be done to support apprenticeships, says ALMR

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Responding the announcement that the Liberal Democrats will pledge to increase the rate of pay for apprentices, the ALMR is recommending the Government look at further options to promote apprenticeship take-up and reminded the Business Secretary that NMW rates should be set by the Low Pay Commission following independent evaluation.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable is due to announce a Lib Dem policy recommendation to raise the rate of apprentice pay from £2.73 to £3.79 at the Liberal Democrat’s annual conference later today.

ALMR Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls said: “We are pleased to see the Government taking seriously the issue of apprenticeships and taking steps to encourage more young people to take up such a scheme. We are concerned, however that this may be undermined by unsustainable increases in wage rates. The Low Pay Commission’s 2014 report stated: “for wage increases to be sustainable, they must be affordable.” This recognition is a good first step but we would like to see more being done to develop apprenticeship schemes for hospitality businesses and help for businesses looking to take on an apprentice.

“The results of the ALMR’s annual employment survey show a 43% increase in the amount invested in training per employee, plus a rise in the proportion of companies offering apprenticeships from 39% to 67%. Licensed hospitality is one of the biggest providers of apprenticeships in the UK and our businesses are ready and willing to offer opportunities if and when they are able.

“The Government has begun to take steps to make apprenticeships more attractive to young people; further steps to make them more attractive to businesses will only aid the scheme and help our local economies. We would like to see the Government looking at further steps such as fully-funded apprenticeships for 19-24 year olds and further funding for over 25’s. A bonus for small businesses every time they take on an apprentice, not just a one-off, would also reinforce the attractiveness and usefulness of the apprenticeship scheme.” Ends

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