Owen Smith, Labour leader hopeful to unseat Jeremy Corbyn, has pledged to help young people in a number of areas to win over the youth vote. In his recent speech at Nottingham University, he stated that young people today are more likely to be unemployed and in debt, as well as less likely to have the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship. He has pledged to help combat these issues by scrapping tuition fees and securing a living wage for apprentices.
Currently, students are charged up to £9,000 per year, which is repaid when they start earning £21,000 a year. In the place of these tuition fees, Mr Smith is proposing that once graduates earn over £15,000 per year they will pay a top up tax of between 1% and 2%. For those graduates who earn in a top pay bracket, they could be asked to pay a higher rate than 2%.
Mr Smith is also proposing a guaranteed high level apprenticeship for every eligible 18 year old, in which they will earn the living wage. These would be available to young people with Level 3 equivalent qualifications and would run for a minimum of 2 years, including at least one day a week of off-the-job learning as well as on-the-job training. In terms of funding this scheme, he would increase the amount apprenticeship levy paying employers would pay to 1%; this is an increase from the current plan which will see employers with a wage bill of over £3million per annum pay 0.5% of their total wage bill into a fund to use for training apprentices. The apprenticeship levy is due to launch in April 2017.
The new Skills Minister, Robert Halfon, has already announced his plans to create a National Living Wage for apprentices, as well as other proposals to reform the current apprenticeship system. If you’re considering becoming an apprentice or would like details on the benefits of recruiting an apprentice you can contact Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We work with young people and employers across the South to find childcare apprentices, business administration apprentices as well as health & social care apprentices.