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27/10/2005

Apprenticeship pay survey reveals gender pay gap

A survey published today on apprenticeship pay will help young people to make informed choices about their future careers.

The survey of 5,500 work-based apprentices - the first of its kind to analyse pay by sector - shows that those on Government approved schemes are taking home over £500 a month on average. However, the research has identified a £40 per week average pay gap between male and female apprentices, largely due to the high level of "gender segregation" in many of the sectors.

The highest paid in the electro-technical sector are netting an average pay of £183 per week.

Skills Minister Phil Hope said: "More young people than ever before are choosing apprenticeships as a way of picking up highly marketable skills quickly and starting to earn as they learn their profession. The research shows that apprentices can make significant earnings whilst training. But young people need to make the right choices about the apprenticeships to take up, and knowing about potential earnings is a vital part of their decision.

"The research which covered the sectors with the highest numbers of apprenticeships will be available to Connexions Advisors to ensure young people can be given more information about the pay in different sectors."

Jenny Watson, Acting Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), said: "Young people should not have their career options and future pay limited by a lack of information. We know that eight in ten girls and over half of boys say they'd like to try a non-traditional career - yet fewer than 2% of construction apprentices are female.

"The young people involved in our investigation were very clear that better information about pay levels would have prompted them to think again about their choices, so we are delighted to see this new initiative which picks up one of our recommendations following the research. We hope it's the first of many through which the government can open doors for young people into non-traditional roles."

Frances O'Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the Trades Unions Congress said: "The TUC believes that apprenticeships give young people a real opportunity to earn and learn. While the findings of the research are largely encouraging it is essential that all apprentices get high quality training, support at work and good pay to encourage them to stay the distance.

"We must also ensure that there is not a huge disparity at this early stage between the earnings in so-called 'jobs for the boys' and jobs for the girls. Our new leaflet for apprenticeships sets out their rights as an apprentice and how unions can help secure these rights."

(SP/KMcA)

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