I’m looking for a step up in my career, or at least a salary improvement. Applying to current vacancies wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I sent out speculative CVs. I just saw a company I really wanted to work for advertising a position. As I read it, I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t contacted me - my skills were perfect. I had the relevant experience they wanted, I had training in Adobe Creative Suite, I had examples of leading a team and showing initiative.

Oh wait, I see now, you must be aged 18-25 and you will be paid as an apprentice.


Apprenticeships can be great. If it’s a trade, aimed at school leavers with poor GCSEs or people fresh out of prison, an apprenticeship to be a mechanic or a hairdresser or a butcher can be absolutely wonderful. I know people who have had their lives turned around by small businesses providing the training and support they never got at school, and many of those businesses would not have been willing to do so without the discounted wage. It’s a big vote winner, and is especially popular among traditionalists.

But what used to be an entry level position is now an apprenticeship. I’ve seen marketing positions, sales positions, publishing positions, administration positions, all looking to employ someone for £2.90 an hour for a position that used to be paid properly. My mum is currently furious, because she has been told to hire an apprentice as a receptionist at her work place - there are already four other receptionists, all earning ~£15,000 p.a, and the apprentice would be doing exactly the same job.

I honestly feel like crying because I love my current job, I really do, but I am just not earning enough. My student overdraft runs out soon and I’m nowhere near getting out of it. There is no room for me to grow. It is a social enterprise so there’s very little chance of me getting a raise. And I’ve been job searching for months now, and every time I think I’ve got something, it’s another company trying to wriggle out of the minimum wage. There is nothing wrong with my CV, there is nothing lacking in my experience. I’m not one to make excuses - I’ve never struggled to get a job before, and I am realistic about my skills and ability. I’ve already pulled myself up by the bootstraps. I’ve already worked since I was thirteen every weekend and after school, I’ve already taken the unpaid internship, I’ve already done the volunteering that really needed a full time staff member, I’ve already got the year’s relevant experience with a globally recognised client. I am capable, and yet here I am, trying not to angry-cry because the company I spent hours researching and writing a meticulous speculative CV to refuses to hire me for a fair wage. I feel so hopeless, and I already have a job! I’m furious and devestated for those out of work, and I could burn down a building if it meant politicians would stop bragging about how many apprenticeships they’ve created.


ETA: I just saw one job advertised with “if you’re to stand a chance with the boys upstairs, a witty repertoire could come in handy.” The boys upstairs??? Fuck off.