Trade union and business leaders are negotiating a joint agreement on traineeships over the issues of pay and work experience quality.

Tom Wilson, director of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) learning and skills organisation Unionlearn, revealed that talks had been held with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on the issue.

He tweeted:Joint @unionlearn agreement between CBI and TUC on @TraineeshipsGov includes need for safety, pay, allowances and quality work experience.”

Both bodies confirmed to FE Week that discussions had taken place on traineeships, which saw 7,400 starts since the programme launched in August up until April according to last month’s Statistical First Release.


Tom Wilson’s tweet on Wednesday, July 9

Shadow Junior Education Minister Rushanara Ali had told FE Week in March, at which point the had been 3,300 starts, that the take-up on traineeships was “deeply disappointing”.

Around six months earlier, Kwik Fit came under fire from the National Union of Students when it emerged the car servicing firm was advertising for unpaid traineeships of up to 936 hours across five months.

The firm defended the offer, saying learners could finish the programme sooner and could progress to an apprenticeship, but then it pulled the scheme in December having been given a grade three (‘requires improvement’) inspection result from Ofsted with only grade one and two providers able to run traineeships.

However, neither the TUC nor CBI would reveal further details about their agreement on traineeships, nor provide a date for when final negotiations might be completed.

A TUC spokesperson said: “We are working on a joint statement which is near completion, but not yet finalised.”

A CBI spokesperson said: “We have been engaging with the TUC on ways to promote traineeships and we’ll be publishing details in due course.”

Traineeships, which combine work experience with maths, English and employability training, were designed to help 16 to 24-year-olds without experience or qualifications into work.