Posted: 14th of June 2013 by Anonymous

Traineeships in the UK

Traineeships are a new UK programme to help young people get an apprenticeship or a job. The traineeship scheme enables 16 to 23-year-olds to develop the skills and workplace experience that employers demand. It is for young people who want to work, but need or want a bit more help to get an apprenticeship or a job.

Traineeships will last around six months and give post-GCSE learners the flexible training and real work experience they need to compete for apprenticeships and good jobs. Trainees will emerge better equipped and more attractive to employers.

The purpose of traineeships is to develop the personal skills and vocational skills to get ready for full time employment, such as job search and interview techniques, time-keeping and team working - as well as improving the relevant English and maths skills that employers demand.

One or more work placements will be included, allowing trainees to work with an employer to develop the behaviours they need to find and keep a job. Traineeships are not just like going back to school. Trainees are learning, but doing it because they want to be there and are preparing to go directly on to work or an apprenticeship. From this August the national traineeships scheme will go live around England.

About the new traineeship scheme in the UK

New choices for 16 to 23-year-olds

The rules are changing. In September 2013, 16 year olds who have taken their GCSEs can no longer leave the education system. The Government now requires young people to continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17, and from 2015 the rules change again so that learners can’t leave until their 18th birthday.

Raising the participation age does not mean 16 and 17 year-olds must stay in school, instead they will now have four options:

  • an apprenticeship
  • a traineeship
  • full-time education, such as school, college or home education
  • part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering full-time.

So, in other words, after finishing GSCEs, there is now a choice between going to take A-levels and/or vocational qualifications, or alternatively participating in a traineeships or extended work experience.

Initially, from August 2013, traineeships will be for 16- to 23-year-olds. All young people undertaking a traineeship will have to study English and maths unless they already have a GCSE A*-C in those subjects.

Why have traineeships been developed?

In recent years many employers have been unhappy with the skills of school leavers, making it harder for any young people to find work.

A recent survey found two out of every three employer said they were disappointed with the basic work related skills and attitudes of school leavers*. Businesses also said they want school leavers to have better English and maths skills, with 35% and 30% respectively saying these have previously not been good enough.

All in all, the jobs market has been an exceptionally tough place for young people and it has become very difficult to gain relevant work experience and skills to help them go on and get permanent employment. The new traineeship programme has been developed to bring school leavers up to the required level for the workplace, giving them skills and experience to compete in the labour market with more experienced adults. As well as helping young people get themselves ready for work, traineeships are also there to provide a stepping stone to an apprenticeship.

The government minister in charge of traineeships said the aim is “to support everyone in our country to reach their personal best” with traineeships a new scheme “to help young people with the skills they need to get a job, and hold down a job”.

How do traineeships work?

For those young people not in education and trying to find work, traineeships provide flexible and tailor-made work preparation, including a work placement and further training in English and maths for those who have not achieved a GCSE grade C. The main part of traineeships will be a work placement, work preparation training and relevant English and maths for the workplace. Traineeships will include work placements of between six week and five months, which can be broken up into several blocks and with different businesses.

An important part of job placements will be regular constructive feedback from managers and formal reviews at key stages between the manager, trainee and training provider. All traineeship job placements will also include an induction process where the employer will provide clear objectives as well as details of relevant off-the-job training with a mentor or buddy.

All traineeships should offer a guaranteed job interview and a job reference at the end of the work placement. Sometimes it may not be possible for this interview to be linked to a real new job or apprenticeship, in which case it will comprise a formal exit interview to help the young person practice and prepare for future interviews. Either way, the interviewing company will be required to give meaningful feedback and a job reference based on the work placement.  

Where will traineeships be based? / Where can I find traineeships?

Traineeships will be available from most local schools or colleges. You can contact your local training provider to see what traineeships they offer or plan to offer.

Naturally, we at NotGoingToUni have a page dedicated to UK trainee jobs on offer so be sure to check that out for the very latest opportunities.

Traineeship providers and employers have the freedom to work together to develop the core elements – work placement, workplace skills and relevant skills – and any other content in the best way for individual trainees and to best meet the needs of local employers. Also, interested young people should be able to get more information on what’s happening in their local area from local authority services for young people, schools, colleges, Jobcentre Plus advisers, Department for Education Youth Contract providers, National Careers Service advisers and National Citizen Service providers, who can all referring interested people onto traineeships.

Information on school-based traineeships will be made available here on and through local colleges, schools and local authority websites.

Who can take traineeships and who can’t?

As well as 16- to 23-year-olds, traineeships can also be taken by young people who have learning difficulty assessments up to the academic age of 25 The intention is that traineeships will be for:

  • those who are not currently in a job and don’t have enough work experience, and
  • those who want to work, and
  • those who are qualified below A or AS Level or other Level 3 qualifications.

Traineeships are not intended for:

  • those young people who require very intensive support, or
  • those who are already ready to start an apprenticeship, or
  • those already in a job.
  • those older than 19, at least for the first year of the scheme

For those who are claiming unemployment benefits, traineeships are designed to be flexible enough so that the training programme also fits with benefit rules. This would enable young people to continue to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credits while also taking part in a traineeship. This may apply particularly for some of those aged 18, but also to a small group of 16-17 year olds.

Will trainees get paid for the work placement?

Employers are not required to pay trainees for the work placement under the traineeship. Traineeships are exempt from the Minimum Wage. Young people taking part in traineeships will be undertaking education and training and some may qualify for financial support, including the 16-19 Bursary Fund. The government is encouraging employers to provide trainees with financial support to meet their travel or meal costs, but not all employers will comply.

Types of traineeships and different subjects

It is thought that there will be traineeships tailored to the relevant work skills of different industries. These might include wider area programmes such as general business traineeships, administration traineeships and IT traineeships, or more industry-related programmes such as retail traineeships, real estate traineeships, engineering traineeships, nursing traineeships and child care traineeships. Until more employers and traineeship providers publish the details of their specific programmes, the finer details remain to be seen. Legal traineeships already exist and are very popular with law firms, but are a different thing from this new scheme.

What happens at the end of a traineeship?

A traineeship won’t necessarily take the full six months, as a young person’s traineeship will come to an end when either:
• they get a job or an apprenticeship or further education and training
• when all the different parts of the trainee’s agreed programme are completed
• or they have completed six months on the programme.

The plan is for all traineeships to include a guaranteed interview with the work placement company at the end of the placement.  

Traineeships in Wales

In Wales, traineeships are on two main levels and are guaranteed a paid allowance of £30 or £50 a week.

The two levels of Welsh traineeships are a shorter Engagement and the longer Level 1. Engagement is for those who are unsure what they want to do for a career, or need to develop their confidence. It can help trainees understand the type of job they want by providing work placements or community projects. Level 1 is for those who know what type of job they want and are ready to learn.

Engagement traineeships are a varied four-week introductory programme in Wales, during which learners will get the chance to try out different work tasters and gain valuable core skills. On the engagement option of a traineeship, learners will be paid an allowance of £30 a week.

Level 1 is a longer programme tailored to meet the needs of those people who want to work towards a Level 1 learning programme including an NVQ and Essential Skills Wales qualification. Learners will be paid an allowance of £50 a week, reduced for part time allowance. Level 1 could also include work placements, community projects and training with a skills provider while the trainee completes an NVQ or other qualification in the work area they have chosen.  

* 2012 CBI annual education and skills survey

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