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Hotel of mum and dad highlights challenges facing young job seekers

by on November 8, 2013

Last night the BBC’s Hotel of Mum and Dad featured a young couple – Rennick and Jodie – attempting to move out from home and stand on their own two (or four) feet.  Neither were working and as part of their week living away from home both attempted to find work to support an independent life style.  Both arranged some work experience but it was far from straightforward making the transition from this to paid employment.  After her day’s work experience in a Nursery Jodie was told “we’d like you to volunteer with us until January and then start an apprenticeship”.  It wasn’t clear how long this period of volunteering was but essentially Jodie was being asked to work for free until the apprenticeship started.  The apprenticeship pay was at the government’s minimum wage of £2.68 per hour – an age related cap for 16-18 year olds or those in the first year of an apprenticeship.  Similarly Rennick was keen to get an apprenticeship in the music industry and seemed to land on his feet, but this apprenticeship was part time (and the pay was never made clear) so he was then going to need to find a part-time job to make ends meet.

Don’t get me wrong their enthusiasm for working and becoming independent was fantastic but it was very difficult to see how they could possibly afford to live on their own.  Rennick’s Mum, watching a film of their financial struggle, commented she knows it is hard and she has to count the pennies but it was hard for her to watch her son doing the same.

What the film brought home for me is that even with the rise of apprenticeships, these do not enable young workers to achieve financial independence and can only be seen as a long term project that may (or may not) lead to full time employment.  The age related minimum wage is clearly a factor here.

Information on apprenticeships is available from the government’s website


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