Unison calls for equal pay among apprentices and younger workers
Europe's biggest public sector union has called for the minimum wage to apply to apprentices and the adult rate given to workers aged between 18 and 22.
Unison claims that many young people have similar costs to those over the age of 25 and says there should be a rate of pay which is not determined by age.
The union continued by stating that there are skills shortages in many sectors and therefore apprentices are needed in certain industries as they are "an important investment in the future of our country".
Sophie Madden, a spokesperson for Unison, added: "If young people literally can't afford to take up those positions then that will be a potential opportunity missed."
A spokesperson for ClickAJob puts it more forcefully.
"This is not the Nineteenth Century - if young people are a genuine investment in the future, then employers should respect them as such," he says.
"Paying them a pittance and then expecting long-term loyalty is hardly realistic."
"First chance they get, any newly qualified apprentices will be off for pastures greener and then the investment is wasted anyway," he points out.
"Employers should recognise that for young people struggling to get started, money is undoubtedly the biggest motivator - why quibble over a few pounds when you could gain a career-long commitment?"
In January, the government announced that it would be funding an extra 35,000 apprentices to strengthen the country's competitiveness and counteract the effects of the economic downturn.