In an historic moment for apprentices across the UK, the National Union of Students (NUS) has bolstered the rights of apprentices.
The Union has confirmed the acceptance of The National Society of Apprentices (NSoA) into its membership.
The agreement means that for the first time NSoA will formally represent the views of apprentices at NUS’ National Conference, where key policies and campaigning priorities are democratically agreed.
This will mean the voice of apprentices will not just be heard, but also formally recognised through specific voting rights assigned to NSoA, just like other NUS members.
NSoA was formed in 2014 to represent and promote the voice of more than 150,000 apprentices in all sectors and industries across the UK. Apprentices are employed and learn while they earn either at a college, training provider or through a professional association.
This is a significant shift in NUS’ history, recognising the diversity of post-16 learners and moving on from the outdated notion of what the ‘typical student’ looks like. It is one of several democratic changes that will be implemented and experienced at this year’s conference.
One of the apprentices who will voting at NUS National Conference for the first time, is Charlie James, a Creative and Digital Media apprentice from Basingstoke. Charlie said:
I’ve attended NUS National Conference as an observer for the last two years. It’s a really inspiring event that brings students and learners from across the UK together. But until today it never really felt like my event. Until today we weren’t really in the club, we were friends with the people in the club, but we had to rely on the help of others to get a platform.
Welcoming the move, NUS National President Zamzam Ibraham, said:
It has been a longstanding ambition of NUS UK to give more voice to apprentices. They have been promised this, time and time again and in the past that promise has not been met. I’m so happy to announce that the promise now lays fulfilled – the National Society of Apprenticeships is now a fully-fledged member of the NUS and this makes it the biggest single increase in NUS’s membership in it’s history.
This means we can respond more effectively to the challenges faced by apprentices such as the collapse of apprenticeship providers like in the case of Carillion, or low pay which has been highlighted time and time again and the gender pay gap which sees women on level 2 and 3 programmes occupying the lower rungs of the mean weekly pay for apprenticeships.
Apprentices can join the NSoA at www.nsoa.co.uk.