When you're thinking about adding an apprentice to your team, money can be one of the key factors in your discussions. Specifically, what wage should you offer an apprentice?
The answer to this question depends on a lot of variables, from your location to your sector, the size of your business, access to apprenticeship funding, and the job role in question.
In this blog, we'll guide you through the main questions around apprentice wages, including the minimum wage, our recommendations, and how your wage offer can influence the candidates who apply for your apprenticeship opportunity.
What is the Minimum Wage for an Apprentice?
The minimum wage for an apprentice currently stands at £4.30 an hour. The apprenticeship minimum wage offers employers the opportunity to grow their team at a low cost, while creating an exciting training and development opportunity.
For apprentices aged 19 and over, the minimum wage rises after one year of training to the national minimum wage for their age group. This reflects a realistic cost of living for this age group, while also recognising the increasing capabilities and responsibilities of an apprentice with a year's experience under their belt.
It can be useful to weigh up your immediate needs with long term vision when deciding on a wage rate for apprentices. Sticking to the minimum wage can save money on new hires and enable smaller organisations to invest in apprenticeships. However, if you are in a position to offer a little more, we strongly recommend that you do so.
What wage do you recommend for an apprentice?
We’ve found that when it comes to finding the right candidate for an apprenticeship vacancy, wage is a huge contributing factor. Put simply, we receive a higher number of applicants to roles with a higher wage.
We'd recommend a wage upwards of £5.00 per hour for 16-18 year olds. For drivers or 19+ apprentices, we'd typically recommend around the £6.50 mark. In terms of a maximum figure for an apprentice wage, this is solely up to individual employers.
The wage you offer reflects the expectations, skills and responsibilities of a particular job role. At Baltic, some of our specialist software development or data analyst employers offer salaries around £16,000 for the right candidate, positioning their apprenticeship programmes alongside longstanding graduate entry schemes.
Benefits of offering apprentices a higher wage
By starting with a wage slightly higher than the apprenticeship minimum, you can still make a saving against the national minimum wage rate. At the same time, you can ensure your apprentice feels valued. It's no secret that staff who feel valued are more likely to stick around and grow within your organisation.
It also means that you can expand your recruitment pool to encompass a wider range of talent, opening up apprenticeship opportunities to those who may have previously considered this training route to be out of reach.
Apprenticeship Wages & Diversity in the Tech Sector
For a young apprentice, getting paid a good wage is obviously beneficial. It can provide their first taste of financial independence and gives them a head start compared to their peers accumulating university debt.
However, apprenticeships are not just for young people with minimal living costs. For an older apprentice, or someone without a financial safety net, accepting a role paid at the apprentice minimum wage may not be a viable option once housing, transport and living costs are accounted for.
Apprenticeships can create opportunity for people from all kinds of backgrounds and experience, This includes career changers, young people without financial support, university graduates, and people with childcare costs. These are people with a passion for a career in tech, with a wealth of life experience, and unique perspectives that can enhance your organisation. Offering a marginally higher wage could bring this experience into your team.
We don't want to limit anyone from finding their perfect apprenticeship opportunity, and our employers play an important role in increasing diversity amongst our apprentices.