Sixteen and 17-year-olds living on poverty pay

Exclusion from the minimum youth wage rate is leaving many 16 and
17-year-olds on levels of poverty pay, reveals research by the Greater
Manchester Low Pay Unit.

Its study of more than 3,000 job vacancies at careers service centres across
the UK shows the average hourly pay rate for 16-year-olds is just £2.76 – 79
per cent of the minimum youth wage rate. Seventeen-year-olds fare slightly
better, with an average hourly rate of £2.86.

The research, The Youth Labour Market, July 2003, also reveals worrying
trends in Modern Apprenticeship pay levels. Those with training to NVQ Level
Two paid 16 year olds an average of £2.11 an hour, while equivalent roles not
classed as Modern Apprenticeships paid £3.12.

This undermines the Government’s plans to promote apprenticeships as the
favoured alternative to further and higher education for school leavers. While
only 2 per cent of non-trainee and apprentice jobs are paid less than £1.50 per
hour, 16 per cent of Modern Apprenticeships were paid salaries below this
level. In total, 10.2 per cent of all jobs for 16-year-olds paid less than
£1.50 an hour in 2002, compared with 7.2 per cent in 2000.

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