Apprentices stressed, in debt, skipping meals

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A young women’s charity has warned that almost half of apprentices in the UK are in debt, with one in five skipping meals, raising concerns about their health and levels of work-related stress.

According to the Young Women’s Trust, which supports young women on low or no pay, almost half of apprentices are in debt (47%) and one in five of those who finished their apprenticeship in the past two years is now out of work, which the Trust says shows that high numbers of apprenticeships are failing.

The findings are based on a survey by the charity of 508 current or recent apprentices and also found that three in five struggle to make their cash last to the end of the month, leaving many unable to afford essentials such as transport to work, or having to borrow money.

When asked how they make ends meet, one in three young women apprentices and one in five young men have been forced to borrow money from family or friends.

One in five have skipped meals, one in six have gone into their overdraft and one in 10 have gone into rent arrears.

Half of apprentices say they have considered dropping out of their apprenticeship early because they struggled financially.

For lots of apprentices, outgoings are more than income, which can legally be as little as £3.70 an hour.

Business administration apprentice Caroline, 23, said, “For my level two apprenticeship, I was paid like £3 an hour. I was living with a friend, so my rent was £250 plus council tax and bills. And I brought in £450 a month or something like that. I ended up working on the weekends as well, putting in like 65 hours a week. It made me really stressed”.

Last reviewed 1 February 2019

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