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Living wage means apprenticeships could be seen as an opportunity for cheap labour, warns City & Guilds Group CEO

Press Release   •   Apr 01, 2016 14:44 GMT

The National Living Wage has now come into force in the UK.

In response, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, warned that apprenticeships should not be viewed as a potential source of cheap labour. He also advised businesses to think holistically about their talent and recruitment strategy.

Chris said: ‘There is potentially much to gain from Britain getting a pay rise, but what will happen to our economy as a result is still unclear. Right now, businesses have so many policies hitting them at once, not only the new living wage, but also pension auto-enrolment and the upcoming apprenticeship levy. While these measures aim to support individuals and boost productivity, they put a huge amount of pressure on businesses’ costs. 

'The businesses that will navigate these changes most effectively are those that shape their responses as part of a holistic talent and recruitment strategy. Under-25s being excluded from the new living wage combined with the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy makes me concerned that apprenticeships could be seen as an opportunity for cheap labour, instead of as a way to develop the vital skills businesses need to be productive. That would be short-sighted and harm our long-term economic prospects.’

Notes to editor

About the City & Guilds Group:

  • Notes to Editors

    About the City & Guilds Group

    • The City & Guilds Group is a leader in global skills development. Its purpose is to enable people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth.
    • Backed by a Royal Charter, the City & Guilds Group has over 135 years’ experience in making sure that people are prepared to contribute to successful businesses and thriving economies.
    • The City & Guilds Group partners with more than 200 companies to develop the skilled workforces that they need, and invests in learning technologies to help people learn whenever and wherever they can.
    • The City & Guilds Group is made up of City & Guilds, ILM, City & Guilds Kineo and The Oxford Group:
      • City & Guilds develops programmes of learning, learning technology, certification and assessment, to support colleges, training providers and governments.
      • ILM helps individuals, education providers and businesses improve the standards of leadership and management through qualifications, accredited training and specialist member services. ILM awards qualifications to over 95,000 managers across the world every year.
      • City & Guilds Kineo is a global workplace learning company. It offers a fresh approach to elearning management systems, apprenticeships and managed learning services.
      • The Oxford Group provides bespoke management training, leadership development and executive coaching to the world's leading companies.
    • Combined, the City & Guilds Group operates in over 100 countries, through 10,000 training centres, delivering qualifications in 26 different industries.
    • For more information about the City & Guilds Group visit:

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