West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (WYFRA) is increasing the rate of pay for its apprentices to be in line with the Living Wage Foundation rate.
The Authority currently employs three apprentices who work in different roles within the Service.
The new rate is £8.45 per hour for over 18-year-olds which is considerably more than the current National Minimum Wage levels and even the National Living Wage (see table below).
The change of pay rate will be backdated to October 7, 2016 and will be reviewed each April.
Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Judith Hughes said: “The Fire Authority strongly believes that decent pay and conditions are a right for all staff. Even in these difficult financial times we feel it’s absolutely the right thing to do to pay our apprentices at the Living Wage Foundation rate.”
The Government is encouraging organisations to increase the number of apprentices they employ and offering competitive wages will help us attract the very best people in the future.
Chief Employment Services Officer, Ian Brandwood added: “The Authority has taken this decision because it feels that any employee has a right to receive a decent wage and our apprentices are valued members of our teams.
“This decision will put us alongside the very best employers in the country for potential future apprentices.”
Under the previous national wage system apprentices under the age of 19 and any apprentice, regardless of age, in the first year of apprenticeship, would start on the lowest rate.
What our apprentices said:
Daniel Hirst, ICT apprentice for WYFRS, is in his first year of his apprenticeship. He said: “As a 21-year-old I have things to pay for including rent, bills.
“The wage rise will slowly allow me breathing room to start saving money.
“I am deeply grateful that the Fire Service has decided to look at and increase the living wage for its apprentices and look forward to continuing to work through my apprenticeship with them.”
Liam Fox, 20, is an apprentice in the Human Resources department at WYFRS and is also in his first year.
He said: “The pay increase for me would more than double my current wage and this will allow me to save money and potentially be able to afford to get my own home in the future.”
Connor Blackwell, 19, is an apprentice in the Workshops department and has been with WYFRS for over a year.
He said: “Boosting my wage up to the national Living Wage will be a massive help to me this early in my life. It will allow me to save up for a mortgage a lot sooner than if I was on skilled trade wage, which in turn will give me better start to my working life.”
See below for full breakdown of apprenticeship pay:
National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
||From 1 April 2017 (current)
Rate per hour
|From 1 October 2016
Rate per hour
| 25 and over (National Living Wage)
| 21 and over
| 18 to 20
| Under 18
(all apprentices under age 19 AND any apprentice, regardless of age, in first year of apprenticeship)
The Living Wage Foundation rate is £8.45 UK rate and £9.75 per hour (London rate) for over 18-year-olds.