Opinion: The National Minimum Wage for students and apprentices is shocking and here’s why

From the 1st of April, the National Living Wage went up. But for those aged 20 and under, their National Minimum wage is too low when considering how expensive life can be.

The National Living Wage for people aged 18, 19 or 20 is £6.56 an hour. For under 18s it is £4.62 an hour and for apprentices it is £4.30 an hour. This needs to change, and here’s why. 

Apprentices deserve recognition

People who have chosen to do an apprenticeship want to get straight into working and earning money. This could be because the job they are working is very practical and it is better to get hands on experience and therefore do an apprenticeshipHowever, some people choose to do an apprenticeship because they have moved out. For people like this, earning enough money to pay their bills is essential. So why is the minimum wage for apprentices so low?

As of April 2021, an apprentice will earn £4.30 an hour. While we can appreciate apprentices are learning on the job, so are not yet capable of doing the job alone, surely, they should at least be entitled to the minimum wage for their age bracket? When someone starts any new job; they need to learn. They won’t be able to be left alone for maybe their first week. But everyone must start somewhere. Just because someone has chosen to do an apprenticeship, they should not be on a lower hourly rate to someone who is the same age and not doing an apprenticeship. 

Similarly, apprenticeships are a great way to get hands on experience for practical jobs. The minimum wage could put people off doing apprenticeships which will therefore make it harder for employers to find people with practical experience. Finally, apprentices are not only working a full-time job, for potentially the first time, but are having to learn new skills for their qualifications too. Apprentices deserve recognition for the work they do and should therefore be on a higher hourly wage. 

Living costs

It is not uncommon for parents to ask for their children to pay rent when they get to 18 years old. 18 is a milestone as it marks adult hood and with adult hood, comes new opportunities, changes and expenses. At 18, university students will want to move out. While university students are offered student loans, a lot of students want independence. They want to be able to pay their bills comfortably – not relying completely on their loan because inevitably, they will be paying this loan back. They need money to pay their bills, they need independence, and they need to be on a higher wage.  

Equality and performance

If someone who is 17 is doing the same job as a person who is 30, they should get paid the same. Why should a 30-year-old get double what a 17-year-old would get for doing the same job. Any employees that do the exact same duties in their job should be paid the same – it is all about equality. Also, some younger people might do the job better and therefore deserve more or the same as someone older. They should be recognised for this and appreciated. If they are not, then they are likely to lose their passion for working hard. Employees should be paid based on their performance, not their age. 

Credit: Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Overall, young people deserve recognition for the work they do. They deserve to be paid equally for the job they do and should not be discriminated against because of their age. Life is expensive, so they need a fair chance at being able to foot the bill.  

Click here to read the page on the government’s website on the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. 

 

Featured image: Katie Harp on Unsplash