National Society of Apprentices - UK
It's an exciting time to be an apprentice, and for
apprenticeships in general. We are seeing a real debate about what
apprenticeships should look like, where you can do one, in which
subjects and to which level. Apprenticeships are finally beginning
to be taken seriously.
Following our research into careers advice and apprenticeships
over the last year we've been talking with apprentices across the
country from all sorts of different frameworks. Apprentices have
been telling us they are concerned about:
- Careers Advice
- Pay and travel costs
- Respect as an apprentice
- The quality of teaching and learning
So these are the things that the national society will be
focussing on this year.
When apprentices have been talking to us about the quality of
their experience we've seen something quite disturbing. The
experience of men and women in apprenticeships is different. When
we followed up these stories and looked at the research we found
that training, conditions and pay are better in apprenticeships
that tend to be done by men. We believe everyone has the right to
access an excellent apprenticeship.
The pioneering society has been set up to support apprentices,
to champion their rights, to represent apprentices' views on a
national level, and celebrate the part that they play in their
NUS has partnered with the National Apprentice Service (NAS)
that supports, funds and co-ordinates the delivery of
apprenticeships throughout England and is responsible for
increasing the number of Apprenticeship opportunities.
Apprentices are fantastic for businesses, personal careers and
creating opportunities for both employers and apprentices, but they
can also face many barriers which can adversely affect their work
Apprentices are some of the most underrepresented learners in
the UK. Our own research has showed that the apprenticeship minimum
wage, a measly £2.68 per hour, could be a major deterrent for those
who would otherwise consider apprenticeships. The Government's own
evidence last year showed a fifth of apprentices were paid below
even that wage.
Research from the equality and human rights commission indicates
that pay and the quality of apprenticeships are inextricably
linked. Traditionally male apprenticeships such as engineering and
construction have better wages, more classroom time, and more on
the job training than traditionally female apprenticeships, such as
hairdressing and childcare positions.
NUS wants to ensure that everyone understands the issues that
apprentices face and empower them to have a national voice that
will give them the protection and power they deserve.
In addition to creating a voice for all apprentices regardless
of what or where they learn, the agreement with NAS will to raise
the profile of the NUS Apprentice extra
discount card, which was launched in 2012 to support work based
learners, with a vision that it will one day help fund a national
society to act as a voice for apprentices nationally. The card
offers apprentices many of the same discounts and benefits as other
students as well as a few apprentice exclusives.
Raechel Mattey, NUS vice president (union development),
said: "NUS understands the importance of
strong representation and having a voice to shape your environment.
I'm delighted that we are setting up the society in time for
National Apprenticeship week. It's the perfect way to celebrate
Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals,
businesses and the wider economy.
"Never before has anyone listened to the views of apprentices at
a national level, until now. For the first time ever, apprentices
will have a voice and it's high time we started to champion our
apprentices by tackling exploitative practices within the industry
and rooting out abuse where it exists."
You can find out more about our work on apprenticeships
National Society of Apprentices Wales
Speaking at NUS Wales Conference 2013 on Thursday 14 March 2013,
Raechel Mattey announced the launch of the National Society of
"Our mission as the National Union of Students' is to
defend and extended the rights of students. As a collective
understand the importance of strong representation, having a
voice to shape
your learning environment and a space to creative positive
change. But this
shouldn't be restricted to those only in further or higher
ever you study, however you choose to study, NUS should be
I'm really proud to have led our pioneering work with
Wales this year. And tonight, we are launching the National
Apprentices Wales. Never before has anyone tried to listen to
the views of
those apprentices at a national level, until now..."
You can view the full video of the announcement here
NUS Apprentice extra - the discount card for Apprentices
NUS extra, the UK's market leading student discount and
lifestyle card, has introduced an Apprentice extra card. Developed
specifically for worked based learners, the card gives apprentices
access to the same discounts and offers as NUS extra card
In time for National Apprentice Week Apprentice extra has
launched Twitter and Facebook pages to provide an online community
space for apprentices. Through social media card holders can
connect with other apprentices and keep up to date with all the
latest discount news and exclusive competitions.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has made a commitment to
providing support services to the growing numbers of post-16 work
based learners who, to date have been under represented in
Ed Marsh, Vice President for Union Development at NUS explained
why NUS is leading this initiative. "Despite 81% of
apprentices falling into the 16-24 age group, with many earning
only the minimum apprentice wage of £2.65 per hour, apprentices do
not generally have access to typical student benefits such as bank
accounts and other discounts offered to other young people in
higher education. NUS Apprentice extra will give them the same
access to the discounts and, in due course, other benefits such as
financial products especially selected for the value they offer to
Apprentice extra card holders will be able to enjoy discounts on
a variety of essentials including on travel, sport, books and DVD,
technology, mobile and broadband, as well as fashion, beauty and
going out, from more than 120 high street and online retail
partners. Partners include ASOS, Amazon, Odeon, Rileys and Pizza
Hut. Used wisely discounts can save card holders around £525 per
Apprentice extra offers card holders' real, tangible savings
that can make a big difference.
"I use it on my regular shopping and it was especially
beneficial at Christmas when I saved up to 20% on some of my
purchases. It also helps with my bus
travel." Karen Wickens, worked based learner
with Smart Training & Recruitment Ltd.
As well as individual card holders there are currently 140
companies registered with Apprentice extra including Barnardos, De
Vere Academy of Hospitality and the Association of Accounting
Technicians, as well as training providers. The money generated
from sales will go towards funding a National Society for
Gill Rogers, Business Development Director Smart Training and
Recruitment Ltd, said; "As a training provider for 2,500
apprentices it is encouraging to see apprentices getting
recognition for their status as work place learners. The Apprentice
extra card gives them added support to enable them to make their
money go further whilst they are in training, especially for those
on the foundation programme who may not be in any employment yet.
It all helps support them in their training, which is
Apprenticeships are on the increase, and research has shown that
being an apprentice is perceived as a positive career choice.
Research also highlighted a high demand for more support for
apprentices. Respondents felt that a national society would give
apprentices a stronger identity, a better image and more respect,
as well as a voice to represent the interest of apprentices
nationally, including political representation.
Ed Marsh added; "NUS has made a commitment to support
apprentices, and the Apprentice extra card is the first step in
that process. Our key objective is the formation of a National
Society for Apprentices, so that apprentices will have a profile, a
voice and similar benefits to those enjoyed by other groups of
The launch of this initiative was given parliamentary backing by
MP Robert Halfon, who has engaged with stakeholders in vocational
education keen to see this happen. Mr Halfon said, "For
many months, I have worked with the NUS and employers to develop a
National Society of Apprentices: starting with the Apprentice
"The card will finally put apprentices on a level
playing-field with students, with the same financial benefits. But
this is not just about economic efficiency it is about social
justice as well. That's why I was also among the first MPs to
employ an apprentice in my Westminster office".
John Hayes MP, the Minister for Further Education, Skills and
Lifelong Learning, said, "The Government is supporting the
greatest number of apprenticeships our country has ever seen
because we want more young people to develop the advanced practical
skills that fuel growth and build fulfilling and productive
"To elevate vocational learning and competence, it is
right that the hard work, skill and dedication of apprentices is
recognised and rewarded alongside the achievements of other
"By reaching out to apprentices NUS is celebrating the
worth of practical accomplishment, and helping to build a more
cohesive and fairer society."
Apprentice extra costs just £11 per year and gives access to
over 120 high street and online retailers.
Follow Apprentice extra on twitter www.twitter.com//apprenticeextra
or visits the facebook page www.facebook.com/apprenticeextra.