Apprentices will have to be paid a minimum of £95 per week from 2009, skills secretary John Denham announced today.
He told union members at the TUC annual conference in Brighton that minimum apprenticeship pay would rise by £15 per week “during next year”.
Denham said the Labour government had salvaged apprenticeships after the Conservative party almost destroyed them in the 1990s.
Laying the blame firmly at the door of the current Tory leader, Denham said: “When David Cameron was advising Norman Lamont at the Treasury, there was not a single penny available to support apprenticeships.
“We have rescued apprenticeships. We have trebled the number of people taking them since 1997. More than 60% of people now complete their apprenticeships compared to just over 20% a few years ago.”
Denham went on to insist that workplace learning qualifications would be available to one in five young people in England within a decade.
“As a result of new investment in the last budget, and decisions I’ve recently taken for the autumn, we are giving every 18-year-old a right to public funding so that they can continue their training and education – at university or at college in work or an apprenticeship – until they are 25 or they get a Level 3 qualification.”
The TUC congress continues until Thursday.