TUC welcomes Richard Review, urging ministers to act on poverty pay


Recommendations set out in the Richard Review on apprenticeships published today should go a long way towards improving the standard of placements currently on offer and encourage greater support from employers and young people alike, says the TUC.

But the challenge will be to ensure that the Review’s call to raise quality also puts a stop to the shocking situation of poverty pay for young apprentices, where one in five apprentices are not getting the statutory minimum wage, says the TUC.

The Review’s recommendations will only really enhance the experience of the 500,000 apprentices currently undergoing training across the UK if they are to be accompanied by clear action from government, employers and training providers – all working closely with unions to stamp out the abuse and exploitation of young people – says the TUC.

Whilst many apprenticeships are of excellent value and are run to a high quality, all too often young people find themselves on sub-standard schemes, where employers don’t invest in apprenticeships and simply use them as a cheap source of labour, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Designate Frances O’Grady said: “The Richard Review is welcome but the pressing challenge for ministers is not to waste the opportunity it offers to crack down on the poor treatment of young people keen to enter the world of work. It is nothing short of a scandal that one in five apprentices are not being paid the minimum wage the law says they should be.

“Failure to ensure quality devalues the apprenticeship brand and undermines the work of the many good employers and apprenticeship schemes currently on offer.

“Providing apprenticeships should be all about giving young people the skills they need to build their own careers and ultimately to make their own contribution to the UK economy. It should not be about exploiting the thousands of youngsters desperate to leave the dole queue and make a start in life.

“The government must look carefully at these recommendations and act now against rogue employers, ensuring decent quality and proper rates of pay for all apprentices, both young and old.”

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