Minimum wages for agricultural apprentices in Scotland have been introduced in a bid to encourage more young people into the industry.

The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board has set a minimum hourly rate of £3.50/hour for the agricultural apprentices for the first 12 months they are employed.

To qualify for the minimum wage apprentices must undertake to study a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture.

From 1 October, workers in the first 26 weeks of employment will get a minimum pay rise of 1.2% (£5.80/hr), while those who have worked for more than 26 weeks will receive a minimum 1.9% pay rise (£6.32/hr).

Scott Walker, NFU Scotland policy director, welcomed the announcement of an apprenticeship rate to encourage young people into the industry.

“When the SAWB  removed age-banded rates, it made it increasingly difficult for youngsters to get started in the industry.,” he said.

“We hope to be able to launch an apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with LANTRA later this year and a new wage band is an important component of that.”

But Mr Walker said the wage rise in other areas meant Scottish farmers were faced with a higher wage increase than that set for the National Minimum Wage.

Details of other wage increases to take effect from October 1:

· Workers in the first 26 weeks of employment to receive a minimum rate of £5.80 per hour (an increase of 1.2 per cent)

· For workers employed for more than 26 weeks a minimum of £6.32 per hour (an increase of 1.9 per cent)

· An additional £0.96 per hour payable to workers with appropriate qualifications

· An allowance of £4.80 per week for each dog up to a maximum of four.