How much do apprenticeships pay?

17th February 2021

How much do apprenticeships pay?

Apprenticeship salaries are dependant on a number of factors and are not as static as you may think. These facts and figures will tell you everything you need to know about what you can expect in regards to your pay during an apprenticeship.

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Every apprenticeship is different, and so are the wages that come with it. There's no fixed wage for an apprentice, and typically your salary will be affected by three major factors: your employer, the industry you're working in and the level of your apprenticeship.

That being said, it's important to know the ins-and-outs of being paid as an apprentice so you can prepare financially for the future. From minimum wage to payment frequency, we'll guide you through all the basics below.

Minimum wage for apprentices

While there's no limit to how much you can be paid for your apprenticeship, there is a minimum wage in place. You'll find all the details below.

If you're unsure if you're being paid fairly, double check your contract. This should confirm the rate of your pay per hour. Alternatively, you can use a National Minimum Wage and Living Wage calculator - you'll find plenty online, but we recommend this one from the UK government.

National Minimum Wage by Age

If you're aged 16 to 18, the National Minimum Wage is set at £4.15 per hour. This is the lowest wage you should legally be on.

If you're 19 or older, but you're still completing your first year of your apprenticeship, the minimum wage you should be receiving is also £4.15 per hour.

If you're 19 or older and you've completed one full year of an apprenticeship, the National Minimum Wage for your age should be paid. You can check this here. However, if you are 25 or older, the National Living Wage for your age will apply instead - from April 2020, this is £8.72 per hour.

Can my employee pay less than minimum wage for an apprentice?

No, it's illegal for an employer to pay an apprentice less than the wages mentioned above.

Minimum wage for an apprentice can be lower than the national minimum wage for a short period of time however (for example, if you're 19 or older but still in your first year of an apprenticeship), so it's important not to get the two confused.

Can I earn more than minimum wage as an apprentice?

Yes, you can. The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage act as the bare minimum, and employers are encouraged to pay their apprentices more than this.

As you gain more experience as an apprentice, and take on more responsibilities, your pay should reflect this. You may start off on a lower wage, but it will steadily increase over time.

When will apprentices be paid?

Apprentices are just like any other employee in a business, and will be paid a regular wage. You should be paid weekly or monthly, depending on the company's individual policy, and you will be expected to pay tax and national insurance on your earnings.

As an apprentice, am I entitled to the same rights as other employees?

When you take part in an apprenticeship, you're no different to any other employee hired by the same company. This means you're entitled to the same working conditions as others working at a similar grade, or in a similar role, to you.

All apprentices should receive:

  • Sick pay
  • Regular breaks
  • A set number of paid holidays
  • Benefits offered to other employees, such as health insurance, childcare vouchers etc.
  • Support, such as mentoring or coaching

What is an apprentice paid for?

As well as your normal working hours, you should also be paid for taking part in any training that relates to your apprenticeship. By law, training should take up at least 20% of an apprentice's contracted hours.

Time to study for an English and/or maths qualification, if required as part of your apprenticeship, should also be taken out of your normal working hours and paid for by your employer. It's often a good idea to sit down with your employer at the start of your apprenticeship and agree on a set number of hours - or even a specific time - to dedicate to studying.

Can I work and be paid for overtime as an apprentice?

Just like any other employee, the same rules apply to apprentices when it comes to overtime. You will be paid for any extra time you work, but you'll automatically be covered by something called the 'working time directive' which limits the number of hours you can work per week.

If you're a young apprentice under the age of 18, you shouldn't work longer than 40 hours per week. You should also have at least 12 hours off before you begin a new shift.

If you're over 18, your average working week should be no longer than 48 hours. This average will be calculated over a period of 17 weeks, meaning you can work for more than 48 hours one week, as long as it's balanced out with a shorter working week. Legally, you can't be forced to work beyond this, unless you choose to opt out.

If you're curious to learn more about how apprenticeships in the UK, don’t miss our other blogs here at IronmongeryDirect.


We think that apprenticeships are a great way for people to learn a trade, so we're giving away £5,000 to a tradesperson or company to help fund an apprentice. You can enter the competition by clicking here

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