Traineeships

A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months.

You can apply if you’re:

  • eligible to work in England
  • unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3

You can expect three things from a traineeship:

  • high quality work placements – where you can learn what’s expected of you in the workplace, and develop links with local employers
  • flexible training - in other relevant areas to help you get ready for work, such as job search and interview skills, time-keeping and team working
  • study in English and maths (if applicable) – employers value these essential skills very highly.

You won’t be paid, but you may be given expenses for things like travel and meals.


  • Two-thirds of businesses (69%) believe that secondary schools are not effective at preparing young people for work
  • Top five entry level skills that firms value most are communication (88%), literacy (69%), numeracy (64%), computer literacy (56%) and teamwork (53%
  • Firms think careers advice should include workplace experiences (64%), encounters with employers and employees (62%), and link curriculum learning to careers (45%)

British Chambers of Commerce, Business and Education Survey³:

  • By far the most important factor employers weigh up when recruiting school and college leavers is their attitude to work (89%) followed by their aptitude for work (66%); these rank well ahead of formal qualifications (23%)
  • For the 14-19 age group, employers believe a top priority for schools and colleges should be developing awareness of working life with support from businesses (42%) as well as improving the quality of careers advice (42%)

CBI/Pearson Education, Education and Skills survey 2016: The Right Combination


It’s up to employers and training providers how these different parts are delivered, and they can be tailored to your needs and the needs of the local economy.If you’ve got a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) issued by your home local authority, up to academic age 25, you can also qualify.

At the end of your traineeship, if there is a job or apprenticeship vacancy with the work placement host, you should receive an interview. If there isn’t a job or apprenticeship opportunity at that time, you will receive an exit interview with the employer who provided the work placement. In this interview you can discuss what you’ve learned, and how it might help you with things like updating your CV and getting into a job or an apprenticeship.


You can use the GOV.UK service to search for traineeships but you need to register if you want to apply for traineeships.