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A Complete Guide To Traineeships

Introduction to traineeships in the UK
It is fair to say there is quite a bit of confusion for school leavers these days as a result of all the new initiatives out there that the government is introducing. However, these schemes are there to help you because they are designed to help young people and school leavers to not only find full time employment, but meaningful employment that interests you and that you can start to build a career in. What you need to do is decide which of these initiatives you could most benefit from - and of course, which you are eligible to apply for.

In this article, we are going to concentrate on the most recent programme to appear on the scene: government traineeships.

In past articles, we have outlined what is an apprenticeship and we have also asked you to ask yourself the question, is an apprenticeship right for me? Well, if you are a school leaver or young person who has no experience of the world of work - or you are someone who does not want to be a university student and have applied, unsuccessfully, for apprenticeships, then the way forward for you could be via traineeships.

Jobs come in all shapes and sizes and if you feel ready for the world of work but are not sure which route to take, government traineeships may help you to decide.

Also, while apprenticeships and traineeships are not the same, they are strongly linked in that traineeships could help you secure a place on the apprenticeship you are looking for, which could in turn steer you onto the right career path.
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What are UK traineeships?
So, what exactly are these traineeships? Firstly, these government traineeships should not be confused with graduate traineeships which individual businesses and organisations fund for university graduates.

The traineeships referred to in this article are a relatively new, government backed initiative which started in 2013. Government traineeships are aimed at those aged between 16 and 24 years old and they were set up with the aim of giving young people and school leavers a chance to demonstrate their capabilities in the workplace while, at the same time, preparing them for the workplace.

Many young people and school leavers are unsure about what is expected of them once they are in a job and traineeships are developed specifically to tackle that problem.
Who Can Take On UK Traineeships? Can Anyone Do Them?
Let’s get down to the bare facts of who exactly can qualify to do government funded traineeships in the UK.

You may be a suitable traineeships candidate if:
  • If you are aged between 16 and 24 years old and are currently unemployed, or you work 16 hours or less per week and you have little previous work experience.
  • If you are motivated and keen to get into the workplace to begin building a career.
  • If you are a school leaver aged 16 - 18 (inclusive) and are qualified below Level 3 (equivalent of 2 A levels at Grades A-C) OR are aged 19 - 23 inclusive and are qualified below full Level 2 (5 GCSEs Grades A-C)
  • Think you will be ready for employment within 6 months of completing a traineeship.
  • If you already have skills suitable for the apprenticeship or other jobs you would like to apply for, government funded traineeships are probably not right for you. Also, if you are already in a job, traineeships are probably not the right path for you.
Traineeships are designed to give young people the confidence to take that first step in kickstarting their career and become work ready. As more school leavers start to apply for apprenticeships, bigger companies have started to offer traineeships to those young people who narrowly miss out on being offered a place. This could either be during an interview or a written assessment where you miss out by a narrow margin.

Companies do not want to let the talent of young people slip through their fingers, so traineeships give both the company and the person doing the traineeship a chance to get to know each other better and decide if they want to work together in the future.

After all, we are not all the same and not everyone shines at interview or assessment level, so, as a motivated school leaver or young person, traineeships give you the chance to demonstrate your capability rather than talk about it - and you could get an apprenticeship at the end of it if you perform well.
What Is Involved In Traineeships In The UK?
Traineeships are all about preparation - preparing young people and school leavers for the world of work. If you are a school leaver who has been knocked back at interview, or even at application level, for apprenticeships and other jobs you want because you haven’t got experience, then that experience can be gained by doing traineeships.

Quality work placement - Traineeships are centred around work experience. Traineeships involve a quality work placement that can last anything from 6 weeks up to 5 months; it depends on the company you do your work experience with and also the training provider.

The work experience you receive is carefully structured to suit both your individual needs and the needs of the company you are working for. This will usually be discussed between you, the company and the training provider. In some cases, it may be decided that the work placement should not start immediately. The training provider who assesses you may decide a stint at the training centre first may suit your needs better so you can get to grips with a few of the fundamentals before heading off for the workplace. You will also be taught handy CV writing tips and interview techniques as well as learning on the job skills.

Mentoring and feedback - Traineeships are not just about going into a place of work and observing staff roles or making cups of tea for the boss. The work you do should be preparing you for apprenticeships and other full time jobs. Young people and school leavers doing traineeships will be assigned a mentor, and feedback will be given so that you can both monitor your progress and make sure you are getting the experience you need in order to move forward.

Academic assistance - Young people and school leavers who haven’t got at least a grade C at GCSE level in Maths and English (or equivalent) struggle to get jobs and develop their careers in the future. Traineeships provide assistance and training so you can achieve those grades. This makes you more employable in the future and will also help you gain placements on apprenticeships.

A meaningful exit - So what happens when the traineeship you are doing is complete? Well, if the company you do your work placement with runs apprenticeships, if they have any vacancies available, they will interview you for a place on their apprenticeship programme.

Some companies, however, may not have current vacancies and, in these cases, on completion of traineeships, you will be given an exit interview and a professional reference so that you can apply for other apprenticeships and get ahead of your competition. At least you will have some relevant, structured work experience under your belt and your Maths and English qualifications if you did not already have them.

Wages for UK traineeships - While there are no statutory wages for traineeships, UK employers are strongly encouraged to at least cover your basic costs such as travel costs and food expenses. Depending on individual circumstances, young people and school leavers may be able to claim a level of financial support from the training provider. All training is government funded and these government funded traineeships are about making you better prepared for the workplace. View them as a stepping stone for the building of your future career.

Hours to suit your needs - The length of time and the number of hours per week young people will be required to spend doing traineeships is based purely on individual needs. So some traineeships may be run as part time traineeships while others could be on a full time basis.

What's in it for the employer? - There are many national and multinational companies embracing government funded traineeships now. The UK bases of international companies are seeing traineeships as an opportunity to snap up the best young talent before they go off elsewhere to find work - so traineeships are a real chance for young people and school leavers to prove themselves and hopefully be rewarded with apprenticeships and genuine job opportunities upon completion.
What Are The Advantages Of UK Traineeships?
Traineeships Can Lead To Apprenticeships And Other Full Time Jobs
On completion of a traineeship, in many cases, it is possible to move onto an apprenticeship if that is the area you want to work in. Traineeships and apprenticeships go hand in hand because traineeships prepare you for what is expected of you in an apprenticeship. Traineeships also give you a better chance of being accepted onto apprenticeships because your potential employer knows you are already committed and you have more of an idea about the workplace environment because you will have done purposeful work activities rather than observation.

UK Traineeships Are Flexible Because Of The Support And Feedback
Because traineeships offer structured feedback and regular assessment, the content and length of them is not fixed. Tweaks can be made as you progress through your agreed route so that both you and your employer still benefit from the programme. Regular appraisals with your mentor mean you will know exactly where you are at any particular moment in time.

UK Traineeships Offer School Leavers and Young People The Chance To Work Locally
Employers and companies of all shapes and sizes can opt to take part in government funded traineeships so this means there could be opportunities to take them up locally; a great incentive if there is the possibility of apprenticeships or full time jobs at the end of the route.

Large Companies Are Backing The Initiative Of Traineeships
As we mentioned above, more national and international companies are starting to back traineeships as they are like an induction to the world of work. Those looking to do engineering traineeships, media traineeships or IT traineeships, for example, will be pleased to know that companies such as Siemens and Virgin Media have existing traineeships and are developing them further.

In this sense, government traineeships give young people the chance to demonstrate their abilities to, and maybe land apprenticeships, with companies they might never have considered in the past. Traineeships can open up many new doors for school leavers.

Traineeships Provide Quality Training And Support
Apart from support in your workplace, you and your employer will also be working through a training provider. Training centres which provide traineeships must have been awarded a rating of 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted. Others are part of the National Apprenticeship Service.

UK Traineeships Provide An Opportunity To Build Your CV
For young people and school leavers looking for work, if you haven’t had weekend jobs or holiday jobs in the past, for example, it can be a nightmare trying to find work without any remotely relevant work experience to write on your CV which might impress a future employer. Government traineeships are the chance to take that opportunity because, not only are the activities in the workplace there, but you will also learn skills with your training provider which you can also add to your CV.
That All Sounds Great! What Types Of Traineeships Are Out There?
Although traineeships can lead on to other full time jobs and careers, traineeships and apprenticeships are good partners and bigger firms especially view traineeships as a stepping stone to placements on their apprenticeship programmes. For young people and school leavers who are curious about traineeships, a quick glance at the growing list of available apprenticeships out there will give you an idea of the types of traineeships you could well come across.

Remember, government traineeships are a relatively new initiative, so the list of opportunities out there, as well as the number of training providers, is likely to continue to grow as awareness is raised and demand rises. More young people are looking for options other than full time study at college or university and traineeships can be a catalyst to get your career kick started.

Law traineeships, Legal traineeships
Until recently, the world of law was for those graduates who had done a law degree and were continuing training and further study. However, legal apprenticeships have opened up a whole new avenue for school leavers, so law traineeships could well become a stepping stone to apprenticeships in this field. Legal traineeships can give you a taster of what is ahead in the future if you choose this route.

I'm technical and hands on
If you like to come up with solutions to technical problems, engineering traineeships and IT traineeships, for example, could be the way forward for you. There are many different areas within engineering and IT so it is possible there are companies local to you offering the opportunity of traineeships in these specialities.

I want to work with animals or in rural areas
Agricultural traineeships could be available for those young people interested in this area of work. Agriculture, again, is a huge area and if it’s livestock, domestic pets or other animals you would prefer to work with, then maybe animal care traineeships or veterinary traineeships would best suit you.

Numbers and organisation are my thing
Young people with a gift for numbers who are interested in apprenticeships to build a career in the financial area might find that accountancy traineeships, business & administration traineeships, banking traineeships or maybe admin traineeships would suit them.

Accounting traineeships could land you an apprenticeship in one of the big accounting firms like PwC, Ernst & Young (EY), Deloitte or KPMG, for example, while finance traineeships could open the doors to many other opportunities. HR traineeships and office traineeships mean you could find jobs or apprenticeships with a whole variety of companies.

I am creative
If you want to make the most of your talents for building a future career, young people who are creative could benefit from photography traineeships. The world of fashion is well known for being competitive and difficult to get a foothold in - but fashion traineeships may just give you the entry level job you were looking for to possibly get onto an apprenticeship.

And you can also think about other areas of fashion such as fashion retail. Retail traineeships can start out in the fashion industry - but you could also move onto other areas of retail or fashion at a later date if you decide otherwise in the future.

I want to help people
A whole variety of jobs and careers could fall under this category - but school leavers who want to be hands on could consider the following government traineeships as a starting point:
  • Social work traineeships
  • Fitness traineeships
  • Medical traineeships
  • Beauty traineeships and hairdressing traineeships
  • Counseling traineeships
  • Dental assistant traineeships
  • Health traineeships
  • Nursing traineeships
  • Childcare traineeships
  • Sport traineeships
  • School based traineeships

I am interested in travel and hospitality
Again, there are many apprenticeships and careers in this area, so it is possible there are placements on travel and tourism traineeships, hotel management traineeships or even general hospitality traineeships. Don’t forget, there is also the catering side to all of this as well for those interested in that side of hospitality.

Big on construction?
Aside from civil engineering traineeships, construction traineeships can come in many guises - such as various building roles or project management traineeships for example. If it is more the property side you are interested in, then surveying traineeships and real estate traineeships could suit your needs.
And finally...
As you can see, there is a whole host of opportunity out there in the world of UK traineeships. Just a few other ideas to get you thinking include bank traineeships, journalism traineeships, library traineeships, event management traineeships, council traineeships, media traineeships and even train driver traineeships. A list of the types of traineeships out there could just run and run...

Maybe you don’t want to be a full time university student, maybe you are long term unemployed or maybe you've been knocked back from some apprenticeships which you really wanted. Whatever the case, it is down to you as a young person or recent school leaver to decide on a career path and go out there to grab the opportunity. And government traineeships could be exactly that first step you've been looking for. Search for traineeships across the UK below now!

IT Support Apprenticeship

Baltic Apprenticeships

Newcastle upon Tyne


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