Not sure what to do after your GCSEs? Want to go straight into a job or an apprenticeship but need more work experience or don’t feel ready to make the leap?
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.
It's like a link between school and work.
'A traineeship could give you the skills and experience to get a job or apprenticeship'
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.
Where can I do a traineeship?
Employers, training providers and some further education colleges offer traineeships.
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.
I want to do a traineeship. How can I find one?
The best thing to do is to talk to your careers advisor or a teacher at your school, to find out whether you meet the requirements to do a traineeship.
You can also have a look on the government's site, where you can search for traineeships.
Case study: Sam's traineeship in hospitality
19-year-old Sam Windsor did a hospitality services apprenticeship at the Oxford Inn pub in Somerset, where she went on to get a permanent job.
Before her traineeship, Sam was unemployed. Today, she is doing an apprenticeship, already having gained valuable knowledge and work experience during her traineeship.
Sam did her traineeship with a company called HIT training, who have this advice to give about their area of work: "The hospitality sector is thriving and actively recruiting, and it is an industry where age is no barrier to progression. Young people can progress rapidly and achieve much within the industry – as long as they are given the right start."
More real-life examples
Take a look at this video to hear from some of the young people doing traineeships today:
Photo of Sam copyright HIT Training, all rights reserved