Tag Archives: money

Apprenticeship over education?

16 Mar

More and more young people are opting to do pursue an apprenticeship rather than a degree and if you’re aged between 16-24 and don’t have a higher qualification then it’s a fantastic option.

Often people will dismiss apprenticeships due to their pay rate, however the rate of pay can be quite surprising. Although the minimum apprenticeship wage stands at £3.30, the average wage during an apprenticeship is £170 a week with many companies paying up to £270. Studies* also show that on average those who have attended an apprenticeship earn nearly £4000 more a year than graduates. You’ll get paid for learning and gaining qualifications without the student debt at the end of it!

Whilst being in education is great, doing an apprenticeship will give you valuable experience to add to your CV – which employers look for. A Government survey also showed that 85% of apprentices said their ability to do the job had improved and 83% said their career prospects had improved.

So with 90% of apprentices staying in employment (7/10 of those with the same employer) what are you waiting for?! Have a look at the government guide to applying for apprenticeships and bag your dream role today.

How to write a winning apprenticeship application:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/442593/How-to-write-winning-application.pdf

 

*http://www.onrec.com/news/statistics-and-trends/apprentices-earn-almost-%C2%A34000-more-than-graduates-year-in-first-job

Advertisements

How will the National Living Wage increase benefit you?

8 Mar

In April 2016 the National Living Wage law will be enforced, so if you’re 25 or over you could be seeing an increase of 50p hour in your wage slip! It makes no difference if you’re paid weekly, monthly, part-time, full-time, by cash, by BACS or by cheque – you are entitled.

Previously employees over 25 were entitled to a minimum wage of £6.70 per but with the new rules in place your employer is required by law to pay you at-least £7.20 per hour. In a recent Government survey 70% of workers have said they will feel more positive with the wage increase and 59% agreed they would be more motivated whilst at work.

Although this is the biggest minimum wage increase in several years it can be hard to picture the impact it will have on your life, so to make things easier we’ve made a list of what the extra income could get you over a year if you were working 35 hours a week.

  • An all inclusive 4* week long holiday to Majorca for a family of four

  • A brand new 64gb Iphone 6s Plus

  • 2 x GT 27.5 Aggressor Mountain Bikes

  • 1,216 Chocolate bars

  • £880 towards the deposit of a house using a help to buy ISA

  • A Louis Vuitton classic Speedy 40 Handbag

  • 6,083 Bananas

  • A Samsung UE50JU6400 Smart Ultra HD 4K 50” LED TV

  • 3,650 Nappies

Whether it’s going to go towards a luxury treat or help towards your monthly bills the increase is going to benefit households all across the UK with only just over 3 weeks until it takes effect.

Prices and figures are based on market searches as of March 2016 and may vary.

Supporting the wider community

26 Mar

In our work with Opportunity Plus, we have come across some truly fantastic community centres and groups, and we want to share some of the great work that is happening out there.

Does your community group need some support? 

Here are some of the things that we can do for you:

  • Create a Facebook page for your community and teach you how to use it
  • Offer free face painting at fundraising and other events
  • Feature you on our blog.
  • Get in touch to see how we could help your centre.

Balloons

Balloons work with bereaved children in the Exeter area to help them through the grieving and healing process.  They have volunteering opportunities available and offer full training.  Find out more at www.balloonscharity.co.uk

The Hub Yeovil

The Hub Yeovil is a community centre working with disabled people.  They run a range of microenterprises to teach members valuable life and enterprise skills.  www.thehubyeovil.co.uk

Healthy Babies UK

Healthy Babies UK provide training to healthcare professionals, children’s centre staff, nursery workers and mothers to support the health, development, and wellbeing of babies and young children.  www.healthy-babies-uk.org

The Money Advice Service

If you have any questions about money – investments, debt, budgeting – then the Money Advice Service can help.  Call them on 0300 500 5000 for free advice and support.

Training

The Education and Training Level 3 course has replaced the old Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector qualification, and enables you to teach anything that you are qualified or experienced in to adults (16+).  Information, Advice and Guidance is another useful qualification for the community sector.  Call us or email info@opsw.co.uk for more information.

What community centres do you use?  Why not visit your local centre to find out more about what they do and get involved!  Check out www.do-it.org or your local CVS office to find out if there are any volunteering opportunities near you.

Newly Self Employed

16 Sep

One of our most popular services for customers starting their own businesses, is HMRC’s Newly Self Employed course.  The course covers everything your need to know about registering your business, tax and National Insurance and is run by HMRC themselves, giving you the opportunity to ask questions that are specific to your business needs.  We run these on a regular basis in Totnes and Newton Abbot, please call us on 0800 043 2440 if you would like to come along to the next course.

If you are not able to attend one of these courses, or if you need to double check some information after attending a course, HMRC have a fantastic range of webinars (videos)  available on their website.  These are first released as a LIVE webinar, you need to register in advance for these, and you can watch and interact with the webinar, enabling you to ask questions.  They are also recorded and available for viewing at any time, though with a pre-recorded webinar you will not be able to get instant answers to your questions.

Some examples of the topics that are covered are:

Self-employment and HMRC – what you need to know

How to complete your first online Tax Return

National Insurance for the self-employed

Tax Credits

2 Sep

Do you qualify for Tax Credits?  They have proved to be a lifeline for so many of us, and are especially useful for the early stages of self employment.  If you have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance, and decide to start your own business for 16 hours or more a week, you may qualify for Working Tax Credits, which could bring in roughly the same amount of money that you were previously receiving on JSA.  This can take a lot of the risk out of becoming self employed, as you still have some regular income to rely on, meaning that you can afford to invest your business income back into your business.

To receive Working Tax Credits, you usually need to work at least 16 hours a week (employed or self employed), and have a low income (this includes your partner’s income too).  You don’t need to have children to qualify.

The easiest way to find out how much you could get, is to use this simple calculator.  You will need to have a rough idea of your income for the previous tax year, and an estimate for this year if you think it will be very different (for example if you have been on maternity leave, or have been made redundant or started a new job).  You can also try out different scenarios, for example based on you working different numbers of hours, or using more or less childcare.

To make a claim, simply call 0345 300 3900.

For more information, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website, gov.uk, or the HMRC website.

The Money Advice Service

12 Aug

By now, you will probably have seen one of the adverts for the Money Advice Service on TV (you know the ones, where the small child or old lady shocks the rest of the family saying “MA can help”).  The Money Advice Service is a free, financial advice service offering independent, sales-free, jargon-free information on all matters relating to personal finance.  It provides clear, unbiased money advice to help people make informed choices.

They have a website, phone line, YouTube channel, online chat facility, and even hold face to face appointments, to discuss any money issues, including:

  • Personal Budgeting
  • Savings and Investments
  • Protection
  • Credit and Borrowing
  • Retirement Planning
  • Taxation
  • Benefits

The five key principles of the service are:

1. “On my side”: the service is impartial from the Government and the Financial Services Industry.

2. Supportive: the service provides information and guidance to enable users to make better decisions and take positive steps towards improving their finances.

3. Preventative: Money Advice Service is not a symptom-focused, crisis response service like debt advice. Rather the aim is to help prevent  financial difficulties and address the underlying route causes of poor financial decision making, including knowledge, financial literacy and money management skills.

4. Universal: the service is free and available to all.

5. Sales free: the service does not sell or make recommendations about specific products or types of product.

For more information visit the website: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.  Through the website you can access a Budget Planner and complete a Financial Health check, as well as finding out more about various financial issues.