A traineeship could help build your confidence, knowledge and skills to help you choose your next steps. But hang on a minute – you’ve heard of apprenticeships and work experience placements, but what is a traineeship? Read on to find out…
What is a traineeship?
A traineeship isn’t a million miles away from a work experience placement – and it aims to do just that: provide skills to young people who are keen, but lacking the experience of more experienced candidates when they come to apply for a job or apprenticeship.
If you don’t have a grade C or above in English and maths, you’ll also get teaching so you can get the minimum grades most employers look for.
What will I do on my traineeship?
What you cover can vary a little depending on who you train with, but all traineeships cover:
- Preparing for work: Training to develop your skills, including timekeeping, interviews, CVs, teamwork and building your confidence to take on all kinds of challenges in the workplace.
- A work experience placement: This must last at least six weeks but can last up to five months, so it’s a real chance to gain some serious practical experience.
- Maths and English teaching: Available to anyone who hasn’t reached level 2 in one or both subjects (grade C at GCSE). If you’re already there, you will concentrate on your work skills and placement.
As a trainee, you will normally be interviewed before you begin, to find out where you need support and check that you are ready to get started. You will be mentored along the way by your trainers and employers and will leave your course with interview experience and a work reference for your CV.
How long do traineeships last?
Traineeships can last from six weeks to six months depending on the length of your work placement and how much time you need to build your skills. Some trainees have been offered jobs or apprenticeships right after or even during their work experience placements.
Who can do a traineeship?
As a rule of thumb, you’re a good candidate to do a traineeship if you’re aged 16 to 23 and have struggled to get an apprenticeship because of a lack of skills, work experience or academic qualifications.
Specifically, you must be qualified below level 3 (that’s GCSE or below). That means if you have A-levels, a BTEC / NQF at level 3 or above, or have already completed an apprenticeship, you won’t be able to start a traineeship. If you are aged 16-19 and in education though, you can complete work experience as part of your study programme.
Will I get paid?
It depends. There’s no minimum wage as there is with apprenticeships, so the employer you train with does not have to pay you. Some employers pay their trainees a small amount, and the government is encouraging them to offer trainees money towards good and travel, but again, they are not forced to do this by law.
The real benefit is in the valuable skills and experience they give you in a short space of time. This will help you get a job or find your way on to an apprenticeship scheme – which you will get paid for. Treat it as a stepping stone.
The main difference between apprentices and trainees is the level of commitment that both the apprentice or trainee and the employer make.
Under an apprenticeship:
- an employer agrees to employ you for the term of the apprenticeship and to support you in your training for that period of time, and you agree to follow instruction and attend off-the-job and/or workplace-based training.
- if your employer sells the business during your apprenticeship, the new employer must continue with the training contract.
- once the probationary period of the training contract has passed, all parties must agree in order for the contract to be cancelled.
Under a traineeship:
- an employer agrees to employ you for the term of the traineeship and to support you in your training for that period of time, and you agree to follow instruction and attend structured training.
- if the business is sold, the new employer does not have to keep you on as a trainee
- either party may cancel the contract by signing a cancellation form or letter stating the date of cancellation. Mutual agreement is not required.