Legally, an employer must pay an apprentice the National Minimum Wage.
  • For apprentices, this is currently £3.90 per hour. This is lower than the normal National Minimum Wage, but it recognises that some people will be going into their first job with no experience at all.
  • If you’re aged 16 – 24, your employer and the government will meet the tuition fees of your apprenticeship. As an employee, you will be paid a salary by your employer. This means graduate apprentices can be debt-free.
  • You will need to cover your day-to-day living costs, rent, travel costs, equipment, and materials.
  • Apprentices are not eligible for student loans.


Those aged 16 — 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship receive at least the minimum apprenticeship wage of £3.90 per hour. Some employers pay significantly more than this rate, and there are examples of both higher and degree apprenticeship adverts offering salaries of between £16,000 and £24,000 per year.

Many employers advertise roles with a ‘competitive salary’. This could mean the salary and benefits will be in line with similar roles for other organisations, or that it depends on your current skills and experience. It’s important that you confirm the salary with the employer.

Other financial benefits: Alongside the salary, some employers offer other benefits including a pension, access to a car, leisure facilities, or a relocation allowance if you have to move.

Discounts for apprentices

You’ll be classed as an employee, rather than a student, so you won’t be entitled to student discounts. But the National Union of Students (NUS) offers an NUS Apprentice Extra Card

You may also be eligible for discounts on public transport, with many schemes running on a local basis, like the Apprentice Oyster photo card in London – giving apprentices 30% off certain journeys.


Amy, Level 3 rugby development apprentice
Amy Rothero is 20 and has completed a Level 3 Rugby Development Apprenticeship at the Welsh Rugby Union. Following her experience, Amy decided to go on to study a degree in Sport Management at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Find out more about apprenticeships in Wales.