The government’s Traineeships Programme is aimed at young people who are unemployed and need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or a job. Traineeships are made up of three core elements:

  • a work placement;
  • work preparation training; and if required
  • English and maths support.

Traineeships were introduced in August 2013 for 16- to 23-year-olds and young people with learning difficulty assessments up to the age of 25.

A Traineeship should provide a learning opportunity (lasting for between six weeks and six months) to help a trainee make the transition into a job by developing their skills and allowing them to gain workplace experience.

There is no requirement for trainees to be paid, but unions can negotiate with employers and management to make sure that they do pay trainees carrying out a job involving productive work.

Best Practice for Traineeships

The TUC has drawn up a Model Traineeships Charter to help union representatives negotiate high quality Traineeships that do not exploit trainees. This sets that:

  • Work placements should be well supervised.  One long placement rather than a series of short, structured placements could lead to exploitation if the Trainee carries out a job involving productive work for little or no pay.
  • Trainees should never be used to displace existing workers.
  • Traineeships should give trainees relevant skills and support progression to a job, Apprenticeship or further training.
  • Trainees should receive careers guidance.
  • Traineeships should develop English and Maths skills – union learning representatives (ULRs) have a proven track record in this area and can help trainees gain these skills.
  • Trainees should receive information about their employment rights and responsibilities.
  • Trainees should be guaranteed an interview where there is an appropriate job or other vacancy at the end of their work placement.
  • Where the Trainee is carrying out work of value, employers should pay them the rate for the job.
  • Employers should assess the risks to the health and safety of Trainees and put measures in place to prevent or control any risks identified and provide them with health and safety information and training.

A Traineeship Agreement negotiated between unions and management can help to ensure best practice, such as:

  • Paying travel costs and meal allowances for trainees.
  • Ensuring that the training provider has been awarded a unionlearn Quality Award.
  • Mentoring Trainees – by Union Learning Reps (ULRs) for example:
    • Monitoring and reviewing Traineeships.
    • Supporting Trainees with learning differences and difficulties.

More information about Traineeships

Traineeship opportunities are advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website, or contact your local college.