The Traineeships announcement has come at a welcome time, given that latest unemployment figures show that the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds stands at 958,000.
Until now, the Government’s main response to the issue of youth unemployment has been through the Youth Contract – a £1bn package of support which aims to provide nearly half-a-million new opportunities for 18-24 year olds, including apprenticeships and voluntary work experience placements.
However, it is clear that more needs to be done to help young people leaving the education system without basic maths and English skills and the soft skills such as communication and teamwork which are invaluable in the workplace.
And while a debate has begun on the role of schools in preparing young people for the workforce, we believe Traineeships will go a long way to bridging that gap.
Here’s our guide to the who, what, where, why and when of Traineeships.
What exactly are Traineeships?
Traineeships are aimed at giving 16-19 year-olds the opportunity to develop the skills they need to find, and succeed in, employment or progress onto an Apprenticeship.
Aimed at those who are not currently in work and have little experience, but are focused on getting a job, they comprise three core elements:
- A work placement lasting at least six weeks and a maximum of five months
- Work preparation training focusing on areas such as CV writing, interview tips and inter-personal skills, including preparation for the specific work placement
- English and maths qualifications for those who have not achieved a GCSE Grade A*-C or equivalent
To meet the needs and abilities of individuals, additional, flexible content may also be included by the employer or the provider, for example relevant vocational qualifications, sector tasters, ICT skills and careers advice.
The Traineeships programme will be jointly funded by the Department for Education and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Training providers will work closely with employers to design and deliver Traineeships which meet the needs of their business and the young person.
Traineeships are part of the Apprenticeship family, however, there are a number of differences between the two schemes. Traineeships will last a maximum of six months with the aim of securing young people’s progression to an Apprenticeship or sustainable job as quickly as possible.
The intention is Traineeships will ‘bridge’ education and the world of work, addressing the longstanding concerns from employers that the schools system is not providing them with work-ready young people.
The first Traineeships will be rolled out nationally from Aug 2013 and the programme is expected to undergo further developments in the coming years.
Why should employers get involved?
Traineeships will offer businesses of all sizes and across all sectors the opportunity to shape locally-delivered training and programmes which in return will provide them with a pool of skilled applicants to draw on.
They are designed to be as simple as possible for employers and can be tailored to suit the specific needs of individual businesses.
On successful completion of the Traineeship, it is hoped the employer will employ the young person as an Apprentice, although there is no obligation to do so.
Common questions about Traineeships
Will Trainees get a wage?
The work placements offered as part of Traineeships are unpaid. However, as they are part of their education and training, where they qualify, trainees will be able to access existing programmes of financial support such as the 16-19 Bursary Fund.
Young people will be able to continue receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance or the new Universal Credit while taking part in a Traineeship.
Will people in their early 20s be able to start Traineeships?
Traineeships are only open to people between the ages of 16 and 19. When the idea was originally suggested, it was thought people would be able to apply up to the age of 24. A government spokesperson has confirmed that they are looking into ways to extend the scheme to young people up to the age of 24.
Will there be any financial incentives for employers offering placements?
There will be no central financial incentives to organisations providing work placements as part of traineeships, but there is nothing to stop training providers using the funding they receive to offer support and incentives locally if they choose to.
How can employers find out more information?
Employers can find out more by contacting the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) or getting in touch with NAS at www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Employers.aspx or on 08000 150 600.
Or get in touch with learndirect or call us on 0845 034 0849.
Traineeships at a glance…
- Who – 16-19 year-olds not in education, employment or training
- What – A training programme combining work experience with work preparation training and maths and English
- Where – Throughout England
- Why – Providing a pool of local young people with the skills and experience to successfully go on to an apprenticeship or sustainable job
- When – Available from August 2013