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Traineeships are up 86% nationally – but what are they?

There is an increasing focus on education programmes have a clear route into employment. Meaningful work experience placements play a big part, emphasising the value of young people learning skills in a real working environment. There is an increased drive for apprenticeships with employer-led trailblazer groups being formed to decide on the skills and knowledge needed to sustain a successful career in their sectors. However, not everybody is ready at 16 to progress straight onto an apprenticeship. This can be because of a lower level of attainment, additional support needs or simply because not everybody knows what they want to do.

This is where traineeships come in. Most recent figures show that 50% of trainees progress onto an apprenticeship with a further 17% progressing into further learning.

What are traineeships?

Traineeships are designed primarily for 16-24 year olds (or up to age 25 for people with a Learning Difficulty Assessment or Education, Health and Care Plan), as an intense training and work experience opportunity. The target group are young people with qualifications below level 3, that are not in employment and have little work experience. The expected outcome is progression into employment or an apprenticeship so an important requirement is for the young person to be motivated by work and for the education provider and employer to be confident that the young person can be work-ready in 6 months.

What makes traineeships and apprenticeships different?

Traineeships are not designed for those most disengaged students or those that require intensive additional support. Other study programmes are more suitable for these young people, including supported internships.

What makes a traineeship different from other study programmes is the partnership with employers as the main component of a programme is a good quality work placement. This element is crucial as it gives the young person the opportunity to learn in a real working environment and develop their skills, knowledge and confidence. It is important to note that Department for Education’s guidance clearly states that ‘Simulated activity in an artificial environment may well form a helpful part of work preparation training but will not count as work experience for the purposes of traineeships.’ It is expected that the work placement element will last between 100 and 240 hours.

Other elements can include work preparation training and English and Maths provision if required. Traineeships can last between 6 weeks and 6 months offering providers the freedom to design their programmes around the individual learner, tailoring the provision to their specific needs to give the best opportunity for engagement and progression into employment.



How are Traineeships funded?

For 16 to 19 year olds, traineeships are funded through EFA as of study programmes to ensure simplicity in funding and to enable young people to move between learning options. For 19 to 24 year olds, traineeships are part of the existing flexibilities within the Adult Skills Budget (SFA). Providers and learners may be able to access additional funding to support young people who have learning difficulties and/or a disability, including Access to Work funding for the work placement element.

What are the benefits to employers?

For employers, traineeships offer an excellent opportunity to be involved in the skills training of young people from an early age. By engaging with traineeships, employers have the opportunity to ensure that young people gain the skills and knowledge needed to progress onto apprenticeships or employment with them and contribute fully to the business.

Traineeships give ownership of the education programmes to the employers as their involvement in both the planning and delivery are vital.

What are the benefits to education providers?

For the providers, traineeships allow the flexibility required to create genuinely bespoke packages for their learners giving them the best chance at meaningful progression. Traineeships provide a vehicle for true partnership working with employers, building a successful programme for their learners.

What are the benefits to the young person?

For the young person, traineeships offer an opportunity to engage with a bespoke training programme. With a focus on the work placement and partnership with employers, learners know they are gaining skills and knowledge that are relevant for the labour market and their future employment. Learners also have the opportunity to gain meaningful qualifications and continue to work towards their Maths and English qualifications, giving them the best opportunity to progress into employment or an apprenticeship.

How can Open Awards help?

Open Awards can offer advice and expertise on setting up your traineeships. With experience of engaging with employers about the skills and qualities required for learners to successfully progress into employment, we can support you with designing your programme model and developing your curriculum.

The work preparation training element should be two fold.

1) Firstly offering training on the skills needed to find employment (e.g. job searching, CV writing, interview techniques) 

2) Secondly training on skills needed to sustain employment (problem solving, timekeeping, resilience and communication).

Our portfolio of regulated qualifications and quality endorsed units offer a flexible approach to teaching these skills. We will work with you to design a curriculum that fits your learners and your employers, ensuring your learners have the best opportunities to progress into employment.

With our flexible approach to assessment, we will work with you to ensure that your traineeships are fully accessible to all learners and meet the expectations of both your learners and partner employers.

For more information on traineeships, read the Department for Education and Department for Business Innovations and Skills guidance here ( )

You may also be interested in supported internships – find out more information by clicking here

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