Unite the Union

Unite the Union

February 27, 2008 11:05 ET

Unite Calling for a National Training Levy to Fund More Apprenticeships

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2008) -

Attention: News, Industrial & Education correspondents

Unite the union is calling for more action on apprenticeships by calling on the government and employers to agree a national training levy to fund more apprentice places.

To mark the first Apprenticeships Week, Unite the union is calling for greater action for more training places by calling on the government and employers to agree a national training levy to ensure schemes are set up and more apprenticeship recruited. The UK's largest trade union say the fall in the number of apprenticeship places will create massive skills shortages in key industries.

The union want employers to be obliged to provide a minimum number of apprenticeship places. Currently, only one in ten businesses provide apprenticeships or quality workplace training. Unite has asked John Denham, Secretary of State for Department for Innovation Universities and Skills, to consider a levy for creating apprenticeships, especially in industries with skills shortages.

The union also wants an increase in the minimum weekly wage for apprentices from Pounds Sterling 80 to Pounds Sterling 110 and government help for small employers who are taking on an apprentices. A Pounds Sterling 110 wage for a 35-hour week would bring apprenticeships broadly in line with the minimum wage youth rate (Pounds Sterling 3.40 an hour). According to government figures only 63% of the 180,000 apprentices stay on to complete their apprenticeship.

Graham Goddard, Deputy General Secretary of Unite, said:

"Unite is pressing for a national training levy for all industries to meet the skills challenge. We want to see increasing access and commitment from employers to deliver high quality apprenticeships.

"Equally important is that apprentices are not trapped in a low pay ghetto. Increasing the minimum wage to which they are entitled will attract young people from a variety of backgrounds to take up places and, crucially, to complete them."

Apprenticeships week runs from 25th to the 29th February 2008.

Notes to Editors:

- Citing the union's print sector, the Pro Skills organisation said in 2006 - 2007 less than a hundred 16-19 year olds were taken on as apprentices.

- According to the Labour Force Survey, 69% of apprentices train in workplaces with fewer than 50 staff.

Contact Information

  • Brian Gallagher
    07957 995947
    Unite National Training Officer
    Tom Beattie
    07778 164400