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TUC: Deliver on Government promise of apprentice travel support

The TUC yesterday (Thursday) called on the government to deliver on its promise to support apprentices with travel costs.

  • Manifesto pledge to discount travel for apprentices has not been delivered
  • New TUC report urges action to support apprentices with travel costs

Over two years ago, the government committed to “introduce significantly discounted bus and train travel for apprentices to ensure that no young person is deterred from an apprenticeship due to travel costs.”

But the pledge still has not been delivered.

A new TUC report published yesterday – as students receive their GCSE results – highlights that apprentices get less financial help with travel than those who remain at school.

The report urges the government to implement a national travel discount for all apprentices and sets out ideas for how it should work.

The report cites the example of England metro mayoralties that have already delivered travel passes for apprentices. In the Liverpool City Region, for example, the travel discount scheme saves apprentices up to £420 a year on bus fares and up to £680 on train fares. In Manchester and London young apprentices are eligible for completely free bus travel.

As well as help with travel costs, the TUC also wants the minimum wage for apprentices to be boosted to youth minimum wage rates.

Apprentices currently earn as little as £3.90 an hour if they’re aged under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Apprenticeships should be affordable for all. But many apprentices face the double whammy of low pay and high travel costs.

“There’s no good reason why apprentices should be left worse off than other students.

“The government must deliver on its promise to help every apprentice with their travel costs.

“It would help more apprentices complete their studies. And it would ensure Britain has the skills we need for the future.”

Notes to editors:

  • Manifesto promise: In its manifesto for the 2017 election the Conservative Party made the following commitment: “We will introduce significantly discounted bus and train travel for apprentices to ensure that no young person is deterred from an apprenticeship due to travel costs.” It was subsequently adopted as a policy objective by the government.
  • The TUC is calling for reforms to our apprenticeship system to boost access and address shortcomings in quality and equality & diversity and to establish a social partnership approach at all levels. This would include the following:
    • The National Minimum Wage apprentice rate should be raised to the level of the youth rate, an increase to £4.35, and enforcement should be strengthened
    • Stricter enforcement of training standards, especially the entitlement to 20% of working time for off the job training
    • Give apprentices a new entitlement involving a “right to progress” from a Level 2 to a Level 3 apprenticeship
    • Reform the remit of Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) to be reformed to ensure more action is taken on equality & diversity
    • Give unions a voice at the table on all skills bodies, especially the IfATE
  • To read the full Get A Move On report from the TUC follow this link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-08/TravelDiscountForApprentices.pdf
  • Analysis from the TUC shows that rail fares have risen twice as fast as wages in the last 10 yearshttps://www.tuc.org.uk/news/rail-fares-have-risen-twice-fast-wages-past-10-years-finds-tuc
  • Congress 2019 will be held in the Brighton Centre from Sunday 8 September to Wednesday 11 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/applying-media-or-external-visitor-credentials and completing an online form. Applications must be in by noon on Tuesday 27 August. Any received later than that will be processed in Brighton and will cost £75 +VAT.
  • The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/deliver-your-promise-apprentice-travel-support-tuc-urges-government

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