Apprenticeship benefits?

Apprenticeships and benefits.

Earlier this week I chanced upon a discussion in the Careers Leaders UK Facebook group regarding apprenticeship choices and benefits. In essence, a student at the school of one of the careers advisors on the group was asking about changes to the parent’s benefits / income support / Universal Credit if the student decided to take on an Apprenticeship with a local company – as opposed to taking a non-advanced FE Course.

Because I’d never heard of this before, I did some research (Gingerbread Charity are excellent here – see link below) and found the following in England and Wales:

  • A child staying on at school or doing a NON-ADVANCED course at FE is still seen as a dependent an can continue to be funded and supported within the family budget as a child so child benefit and tax credits are still applicable. (They may change so authorities need to be alerted).
  • A child deciding to apply to and getting accepted for a full-time apprenticeship (regardless of the level of pay, which is sometimes as low as £4.15 an hour*) is no longer seen as a dependent so the parent must alert the authorities and they will lose Child Benefit. The parent will also lose housing benefit for that young person and their Family Tax Credits and Council Tax reduction will also change.
  • Anyone starting an Apprenticeship / job will have additional costs and expenses for transport, possibly clothing, food and more daily expenses …to reduce the family budget at this time must act as a disincentive for parental support, motivation for the young person and directly affects the life-chances of that young person throughout their career.

I may have been ignorant of this before but now I’m enraged. How are we supposed to continue to believe the fallacy of the UK being a meritocracy if a young person wants to achieve success via an apprenticeship will either feel guilty or unable to accept an Apprenticeship if it will make their family’s life more difficult and poorer?

This is an example of a systemic inequality which, when enacted, will continue to perpetrate inequality for the people who can least afford it.

If this is a ‘support system’ for the most vulnerable which immediately removes funding from a family who are already struggling BECAUSE one of the children wants to elevate their life chances, then the support is for the status-quo, not the children on whose backs the future of the UK is built.

This is a policy constructed from the Orwellian image of a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

I can feel a longer blog and a book chapter coming from this.



There is more information on this  policy and what it means to parents and careers advisors here on the Gingerbread site: