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TUC calls for apprentice travel support

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says apprentices get less financial help than students who stay on at school.

The TUC has called on the government to deliver on its promise to support apprentices with travel costs.

More than two years ago, the government committed to “introduce significantly discounted bus and train travel for apprentices to ensure that no young person is deterred from an apprenticeship due to travel costs.” However, the pledge hasn’t been delivered.

The TUC report Get A Move On has been published as students receive their GCSE results. It highlights that apprentices get less financial help with travel than those who remain at school.

The report urges the government to implement a national travel discount for all apprentices and sets out ideas for how it should work.

The report cites the example of England metro mayoralties that have already delivered travel passes for apprentices. In the Liverpool City Region, for example, the travel discount scheme saves apprentices up to £420 a year on bus fares and up to £680 on train fares. In Manchester and London young apprentices are eligible for completely free bus travel.

As well as help with travel costs, the TUC also wants the minimum wage for apprentices to be boosted to youth minimum wage rates.

Apprentices currently earn as little as £3.90 an hour if they’re aged under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Apprenticeships should be affordable for all. But many apprentices face the double whammy of low pay and high travel costs.

“There’s no good reason why apprentices should be left worse off than other students. The government must deliver on its promise to help every apprentice with their travel costs. It would help more apprentices complete their studies. And it would ensure Britain has the skills we need for the future.”

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