Traineeships: Information for Employers

Traineeships – Everything Employers Need to Know

What is a Traineeship?

A Traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for. At its core are work preparation training, English and maths for those who need it, and a high quality work experience placement.

With Traineeships, businesses can help develop the next generation of employees, equipping young people with the personal and practical skills required in the labour market.

Traineeships can last up to six months and include:

−     Work preparation training

−     English and maths* support if required

−     A work experience placement of six weeks to five months with an employer

−     In addition to these basic elements, you and the training provider can add flexible additional content to meet the needs of your business and the local labour market.

Traineeships – why do we need them?

−     According to UKCES, just 24% of employers recruited young people directly from education in the past 2–3 years.

−     Traineeships give employers the opportunity to help build a pool of high quality new recruits for their sector.

−     More than half of employers are aware of weaknesses in the core skills of at least some of their employees in literacy (55%) and numeracy (51%), with a third (35%) reporting that they have had to provide remedial training for young people joining them from school or college.

−     All young people undertaking a Traineeship will be required to study English and maths unless they have achieved a GCSE A*–C in those subjects or for those aged 19–23 a GCSE A*–C in those subjects or a functional skills qualification at Level 2.2

−     Mid-sized employers (25–199 staff) have reported an increase in skill shortage vacancies since 2009.

−     Traineeships will help combat this problem by providing young people with the skills businesses need.

What are the benefits of offering Traineeships?

Traineeships have been developed in response to research showing that young people frequently lack the knowledge and experience employers expect in the workplace.

Traineeships will help to tackle this problem, while benefiting businesses in the following ways:

−     You as an employer can design a high quality Traineeship within your company in partnership with a training provider – one that suits both the needs of your business and the needs of the trainee.

−     You can get ahead of the competition by bringing enthusiastic young people with their fresh ideas into your business before they get on to the job ladder.

−     Traineeships will allow you to shape the skills and experience of young people from your local community, helping your business to develop a loyal and talented workforce.

−     Working with trainees will give established staff members the chance to develop their skills in mentoring and coaching young people.

−     If you decide to offer a trainee an Apprenticeship you could be eligible for an Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of £1500.**

“Siemens supports Traineeships wholeheartedly– this new programme is a very important stepping stone that enables young people to gain skills that allow them to enter Apprenticeships in Engineering or take up a job in the engineering supply chain” 

Toby Peyton-Jones, HR Director Siemens plc and Cluster North West Europe

What is my involvement as an employer?

You will need to commit to a high quality work placement, lasting at least six weeks this should include:

−     Pre-agreed content and objectives between your company, the training organisation and the trainee.

−     A structured opportunity for the young person, matched to their areas of interest and aspiration, where they engage in purposeful learning activities rather than observation.

−     The work placement should be long enough to allow for the development of new skills and behaviours.

−     Trainees should receive coaching and training from an identified mentor in the business, receiving regular constructive feedback.

−     Employers are not required to pay young people taking part in

−     Traineeships but are encouraged to support trainees with expenses such as transport and meals.

−     Once the young person has finished their Traineeship with your company, you will be required to offer:

−     Ideally, an interview for a position within your business if one is available.

−     If no Apprenticeship or job opportunity exists within your business, providing a meaningful exit interview together with a reference to help them to secure an Apprenticeship or employment with another employer.

Is it a rigid training programme?

No, Traineeships are very flexible, and by working closely with your training provider you can design a programme which suits your needs and those of the trainee.

The provider will assess the needs of the trainee.

Depending on the individual they will start the pre employment elements including local business and sector information. The work experience placement is core to the Traineeship – however it does not have to start on day one of a learner’s Traineeship, but at the most appropriate time.

Jointly, you and the training provider will plan when the trainee should start, the days they come in for work experience and how the programme is delivered. The process can be changed and finessed during the Traineeship so that both you and your trainee get the best out of the process.

Are there any financial costs to offering Traineeships?

All training costs are met by Government funding.

Employers are not required to pay young people taking part in Traineeships but are encouraged to support trainees with expenses such as transport and meals.

How do I get started with Traineeships?

Call the college’s Employer Engagement team on 01902 837163 or email:

Case Study

Virgin Media launched its Traineeship programme at the beginning of August 2013 when it took on three trainees for a period of six weeks. Recruitment to the programme is set to continue on an on-going basis.

The Traineeship programme will form part of Virgin Media’s approach to recruiting young people by offering opportunities to ‘borderline’ candidates who hadn’t been successful at its assessment centres for Apprenticeship positions.

The initial three people on Traineeships have now been offered Intermediate Apprenticeships at the company.

Jake Huckle, who has completed a Traineeship with Virgin Media, says, “It’s been great, I’ve had rejections following interviews before and that’s where it ended. My Traineeship has given me the chance to improve my technical skills and show my determination to succeed. The support I have received has been brilliant with regular reviews and updates on my progress”.

It is still very early days but Virgin Media believes there are corporate and commercial opportunities to offering Traineeships and intends to share best practice with other employers as part of its commitment to corporate social responsibility.

“Traineeships are a great opportunity for both parties, not only can the employer get to know the trainee but the trainee can get real exposure to the type of career that is available and make an informed decision that is best for them.” Chris Starling, Head of Apprenticeships, Virgin Media.

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