The Greens have called for a minimum wage hike for workers aged under 18.
The party’s deputy leader in England and Wales, Amelia Womack, said at their conference during the first week of October that the rate should be raised from £4.20 an hour to the £5.90 level set for people aged 18-21.
Womack also called for a living wage boost for apprentices.
She told the Green Party conference: “If we want to build a working environment that is fair for everyone, we have to make things fair from your very first job onwards.
“A fair workplace has to be fair for apprentices as well. So today we are also pledging our official support for a living wage for apprentices. The current minimum wage for apprentices is £3.70 per hour.
“Three quarters of young people polled this year have said that low pay would put them off taking up an apprenticeship.
“The government’s aim of addressing skills issues through apprenticeships is welcome. However, the apprenticeship minimum wage £3.50 per hour is simply not sufficient to live."
“It is no wonder that we have a skills shortage in this country. It is time that the political class woke up to the value of investing in training and apprenticeships, to the hardships facing young people today and to the realities of pay inequality in Britain.”
Catherine McGuinness – Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation – agreed with Womack, releasing a statement saying: “The government’s aim of addressing skills issues through apprenticeships is welcome. However, the apprenticeship minimum wage £3.50 per hour is simply not sufficient to live.
“Nearly half of apprentices are over 25 and low pay excludes older people with families and young people not living with their parents. And while larger firms often have the capacity to offer quality apprenticeship programmes, smaller firms can lack the resources, knowledge and expertise required.
“Our work with SMEs has revealed a real desire for smaller firms to work together to access training and share knowledge and employ apprentices, but often they cannot secure the training they require. The government should support these employers to collaborate and incentivise bigger firms to open-up their apprenticeship training to smaller firms.”