Making the most of your apprentice wage

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Whether you’re about to start your apprenticeship, or are considering the financial aspects of an application, knowing how you’ll manage your money is very important.

As of April 2024, the National Apprentice Minimum Wage is £6.40 an hour. When you’re over 19, this rises to the National Minimum Wage for your age group after one year on programme.

Although an apprenticeship wage may seem low, the qualifications you earn and the industry experience you gain will increase your earning potential long term. Until you get there, we’ve put together some tips to help you make the most out of your apprenticeship wage.

How to budget for an apprenticeship wage

The first step to budgeting is evaluating how much you earn compared to how much you spend, prioritising the important bills first.

Once you have set aside some cash for things like accommodation, food, travel and other regular expenses, you are left with your disposable income. This is money that you can spend on other purchases or pop into a savings account for the future.

It is always sensible to write down your expenses to see how much you’ll have left over.

Example Apprentice Budget (Weekly)
Rent/Board £50
Food £20
Clothes £10
Travel (bus or rail tickets) £20
Phone £10
Total Wage £180.36
Regular Expenses £110
Disposable Income £70.36

If pen and paper seems a little old school, there are a whole host of smart-spending apps and online bank accounts such as Monzo, Emma and Plum that can help you set a budget, categorise your expenses, and keep your savings goals on track.

Set a Savings Goal

Setting yourself a savings goal is always a good idea. Whether this is for a holiday, a car, or even a house deposit in the future, having a target will keep you on track.

Each time you get paid, put aside a regular amount and keep this in a savings account to earn some interest.

Apprentice Discounts

Everyone loves a discount, right? As an apprentice, you are eligible for an NUS Apprentice Extra Card, which can be used at hundreds of high street and online brands. The card costs just £11 a year, and gives you discounts across a number of sectors including fashion, fitness, travel, food and drink.

If you are between the ages of 16-25, you can also save 1/3 on train travel with a 16-25 railcard. This costs £30 a year, and gets you discounts on off-peak train travel, days out, restaurants, hotels and more.

Many employers also offer staff reward schemes. Check with your manager and you may find that you can claim money towards dentist treatment, optician appointments, and maybe even a bike through a cycle to work scheme! Some organisations also offer their own discount schemes with major retailers across the country.

Financial Support and Advice for Apprentices

If you’re struggling with managing your cash flow, there are many organisations that can help, providing excellent tips and guidance. The Money Advice Service and the Money Advice Trust offer free, expert guidance if you are facing financial difficulty.

Baltic apprentices can also access support on money worries through our Mindful Employer helpline.

As an apprentice, you may be eligible to claim in-work benefits depending on your circumstances. The charity Turn2Us has an excellent benefits calculator which helps you understand whether you are eligible to claim any financial support alongside your apprenticeship wages.

Are apprenticeships affordable?

If you are considering an apprenticeship but are feeling held back financially, it can be helpful to remember that the apprenticeship wage is a minimum level, not a hard and fast rule.

Many organisations pay above the apprenticeship minimum wage, with some offering salaries similar to that of a graduate role – especially in high demand sectors. It’s definitely worth exploring the opportunities and finding an apprenticeship that’s right for you!

At Baltic Apprenticeships, we are part of the Apprentice Decent Wage Pledge and actively encourage our employers to pay above the apprentice minimum wage. You can check out the current opportunities we have via our vacancy search.