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Traineeships: what they are, and what’s changing

Traineeships: what they are, and what’s changing
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You’ve recently finished school and are now looking forward to venturing into the working world. But you don’t have the qualifications to get a job or start a career. You also don’t have any work experience, so you don’t know what to expect within a professional work environment.

It’s a situation that a lot of young people find themselves in. So where do you start? One possible option is a traineeship.

If you don’t know what a traineeship is, here is a useful guide on how they work and what about them is changing.

What is a traineeship?

It’s simply a skills development programme or course for young people that aims to prepare them for working life.

Traineeships were introduced in the UK by the government in 2013 to help young people develop and learn the essential skills they need to find and secure employment.

They last for between six weeks to 12 months and include training in English, Maths, CV writing and interview preparation, and a work placement.

The actual length of a traineeship depends on how much time you need to build skills and the length of your work placement.

The content of your traineeship is specifically tailored to your individual career needs.

Since 2013, traineeships have had a positive impact in terms of helping young people in the UK prepare for and secure careers.

Government data shows that 75% of trainees move on to an apprenticeship, employment or further learning within 12 months of starting a traineeship.

Who qualifies?

To do a government traineeship in the UK, you must be:

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  • Aged between 16 and 24
  • Qualified below Level 3
  • Eligible to work in the UK
  • Unemployed or have little or no work experience
  • Motivated to work

How are they different from apprenticeships?

Traineeships can act as a pathway to further education programmes like apprenticeships.

But unlike apprenticeships, which provide high-quality training to ensure that you can achieve full competency in an industrial occupation, traineeships largely focus on learning and functional skills development.

Timewise, traineeships are shorter than apprenticeships, which can last up to four years. Also, trainees do not get paid whereas apprentices do.

Additionally, a traineeship may not necessarily lead to a job offer upon completion. The good news, however, is that you can expect to leave with a much-enhanced CV as well as invaluable skills, experience and confidence to use in the next stage of your career.

How do I find a traineeship?

To find traineeships in your area, simply navigate to the gov.uk website and enter your postcode. You’ll get a list of all the available traineeships near you, and a link to make your application.

Alternatively, you can approach an employer directly to ask for a traineeship. Keep in mind that not all employers are able or willing to offer one.

What’s new with traineeships in the UK?

Amid fears of high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government is set to unveil a £126m investment to bolster training programmes across the country.

Part of this money will be used to increase incentive payments to companies that take on apprentices. Currently, companies get £2,000 for every trainee aged 16-24 that they take on. They get £1,500 for trainees aged 25 and above.

Beginning in April, employees will be paid £3,000 for every trainee they take on, regardless of their age.  

The government says that this planned investment could enable the creation of more than 40,000 new traineeships.

This is undoubtedly great news for young people. They can now expect to find more opportunities to hone their skills and get some much-needed work experience to help kick start their careers.

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