National Express launches scheme for older workers at start of National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week begins today with the news coach operator National Express is launching apprenticeships for older workers.

Mon, 9 Mar 2015National Apprenticeship Week begins today with the news coach operator National Express is launching apprenticeships for older workers.

Minister for pensions Steve Webb MP launched the apprenticeship scheme, Open Apprentice, this morning. It is specifically designed for people for whom age or extended career breaks pose a barrier to employment.

The scheme is initially focussed on professional driving apprenticeships but will be extended to other roles in the organisation.

In a video message released last week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for more people to take up an apprenticeship.

He said more apprentices than ever were making it into top professions, with research showing a fifth of all advanced apprentices progress to higher education and that gaining a higher-level apprenticeship could boost lifetime earnings by £150k.

A research paper released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) last week [4 March] showed basic hourly pay for apprentices in 2014 ranged from £3.95 (hairdressers) to £12.63 (care leadership and management).

Older apprentices and those in their second or subsequent year of their apprenticeship received higher than the overall average hourly pay.  

The research, based on a survey of almost 9,500 apprentices enrolled on a course in Britain, found 15% of all Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices were paid below the National Minimum Wage. Non-compliant pay was more common among apprentices in hairdressing (42%), children’s care (26%) and construction (26%).

This week, businesses are encouraged to share their pledges to create apprenticeships via government website Pledge-o-meter.

Watch this space for a round up of apprenticeship creation and/or pledges on Friday (13 March).

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