April Early Career News Digest

Apr 27, 2023 | News, Sector & policy

Apprentices get a rise in minimum pay and bankers are told to get back to the office full-time. ISE’s CEO Stephen Isherwood shares what’s caught his eye in the news this month.

Apprentice minimum salaries increase as levy critics call for reform

Good news for apprentices who are only paid the minimum wage. They get a 47p per hour increase as the government ups national minimum wage rates by an average of 10%. ISE reported that the average apprentice salary on joining is 19,292, increasing by 56% to £30,000 in the first three years of employment.

Less happy are critics of the apprenticeship levy who want reform, writes Dan Cave in a HR Magazine article that outlines the options put forward to evolve the controversial policy.

 

University applications predicted to rise but prospective students skip open days

UCAS predicts there could be 30% more applications to university courses by 2030, reported the Independent.

But not all current students are happy with their outcomes as student complaints hit record highs. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator received 2,850 complaints in 2022, of which 38% complained about academic appeals, reported BBC News.

The cost of living crisis is stopping prospective students from turning up to open days. Another UCAS report found that due to costs, nearly 40% of prospective university applicants cut down on the number of open days they attended and 5% didn’t attend any at all, reported the Independent.

 

Poor public sector pay and conditions create teacher and doctor recruitment challenges

To combat teacher recruitment challenges, two schools are trialling a four-day-week for five-days’ pay reported Schools Week. Four-day working week trials have proved successful for many other sectors, boosting wellbeing and productivity.

Teachers are working 54 hours a week and nearly nine in 10 said their workload has increased over the last 12 months, according to a NASUWT survey reported in the Independent.

Simon Nixon writing in the Times thinks tuition debt is a factor in the junior doctors’ strike and is affecting student career choices.

 

How to increase STEM skills?

The PM’s drive to increase maths skills amongst young people faces a significant hurdle as plans will need many more maths teachers, reported the Times. And a lack of tech skills is a major problem for everyone, from small businesses to global economies, reported the FT.

Lower fees may not be the answer though. Over in Australia, the government reform that lowered fees for STEM courses and raised them for humanities courses has failed, reported the Guardian.

STEM Women shared with ISE the factors influencing women and non-binary students and graduates considering STEM careers.

Maybe ethics should be taught alongside coding skills. Why are so many young entrepreneurs who made the ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ list facing jail, asks the Guardian, as Charlie Javice (founder of Frank, “Amazon for higher education”) is charged with fraud.

 

Global outlook for young peoples’ job opportunities is mixed

Globally, over 20% of young people are not in education, employment or training which can cause ‘catastrophic outcomes, writes Phyllis Papadavid in the FT. Over in China the outlook for students are particularly bleak where 25% of young people remain unemployed with more graduates due to enter the labour market in June, reports the FT.

Here in the UK, graduate employment is back above its pre-pandemic high, but down by 2% for 16-year-old school leavers, reported the FT in an analysis of employment data.

Job hunters will need to navigate the selection process better than the Sunday Times journalist who was rejected by AI, who wrote an article questioning the use of technology in the recruitment process.

Lastly, while ISE data shows the dominance of hybrid working, spare a thought for bankers who have got used to working from home for most of the week. A JPMorgan internal memo has instructed senior bankers to return to the office full-time reported the FT.

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