Plans for a new training scheme to equip young people with the “confidence, skills and experience needed to find work” has been announced.

FE minister Matthew Hancock today revealed a potential traineeship model, which could be in place by September 2013, and would see 16 to 24-year-olds not in education or struggling to find work complete “flexible and tailor-made” work preparation sessions, a high-quality work placement and help if they have not achieved a GCSE grade C in English and maths.

It was in June 2012, at the CBI Jobs Summit, that the government first referred to plans to pilot traineeships for “the teenagers who aren’t ready for an apprenticeship”. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said then that “more detail will be coming soon”. Click here for the speech.

Mr Hancock is now urging employers and training providers to help shape the initiative’s progression by giving their opinions on the plans.

The discussion document (click here to download) asks 12 questions about what a traineeship programme for 16-18 year-olds on study programmes, and the young unemployed (19-24 year-olds), should look like.

Source: Traineeships discussion paper, page 12

More than 500 people have registered to attend an FE Week  ministerial webinar with Mr Hancock from 2.40pm to 3.10pm today, with participants encouraged to pose questions and hear the minister’s views on the plan for traineeships. Register here. “We want to support everyone in our country to reach their personal best,” said Mr Hancock.

“To do that, we are introducing traineeships to help young people with the skills they need to get a job, and hold down a job.

“That’s vital for our economy to compete in the global race. And it’s a question of fairness. Traineeships will give young people the helping hand and experience they need to compete for apprenticeships and good jobs.”

The Department for Education (DfE) devised an outline for traineeships, expected to last around six months, after a CBI annual education and skills survey showed that almost two-thirds – 61 per cent – of employers thought many young people lacked “work related skills and attitudes which they needed to sustain employment”.

We have been arguing for some time for a pre-Apprenticeship ‘offer’ to young people”

The DfE said in the third quarter of 2012 there were 206,000 16 to 18-year-olds and 821,000 19 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) and evidence showed these young people are more likely than their peers to suffer unemployment, low pay, poor health and depression.

Professor Alison Wolf wrote a report for the government on the subject which said young people “move in and out of education and short-term employment churning between the two in an attempt to find either a course which offers a real chance for progress, or a permanent job, and finding neither.”

Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said: “The development of traineeships represents a hugely significant step forward in ensuring young people currently without a job or training opportunity are better equipped to find either an Apprenticeship or other type of worthwhile employment.”

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “We have been arguing for some time for a pre-Apprenticeship ‘offer’ to young people, a mixture of training and work experience that makes them attractive to employers and competitive for Apprenticeships or for other jobs with training. We therefore welcome this consultation and the thinking that underlies the questions that it poses.”

The government said its aim was to make traineeships the “preferred route for young people who aspire to apprenticeships or other jobs who needed additional training to reach their goals.”

Intensive traineeships are also being proposed for those with no work experience and very few qualifications.

Traineeships for 16 to 19-year-olds are proposed as part of Study Programmes and for 19 to 24-year-olds training providers will be able to make use of the Adult Skills Budget.

The document states: “You can join the discussion by sending your views to” by February 8.”

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  1. Rachael Fidler

    This is really good news but as I heard Martin Doel say on the radio this morning it is absolutely crucial that learners should be able to keep all of their JSA without penalties whilst attending a Traineeship.

  2. The success of Traineeships will rely on employers offering high quality work placements. How can we best support and encourage businesses to offer traineeships? What will employers see as the benefits of going down the in Traineeships route, will there be financial incentives for businesses to take on a trainee as we have the age grant which has now been exteneded for an employer to take on an apprentice.

  3. Sounds as if Doug Richards is being listened to. They had to introduce something with RPA coming into effect this year. I worry this will become very classroom based if enough employers cannot be found to offer placements. Take up of the Youth Contract by business has hardly been a roaring success.

  4. If they model traineeships on the Young Apprenticeship model they will work as YAs were very successful and progression onto Apprenticeships was high. Time with the employer is crucial, classroom learning must be kept to a minimum

  5. Whilst I am all for anything which takes positive action here, I can’t help but be bewildered and dismayed at a sort of acceptance that there will still be significant numbers of children who will undertake 10 years of schooling and STILL lack the basic skills which seemed to be in place for the huge majority in the 1970’s. What exactly is the point of attending school from 5 to 15 if it can’t even manage a base level of literacy, numeracy and technology for many? Why should employers be any better at instilling these skills?

  6. Fiona Ritchie

    Business Skills Education is not part of the curriculum and the least able and confident are those who need and benefit from it most. That’s why voluntary organisations such as Young Enterprise exist, to give young people a real task of running a company. Many cannot get an apprenticeship ot job purely because they lack basic work, motivational and presentational skills. A first step into work skills and then real on the job work placements is key…but what will the motivation be for companies to employ throught the traineeship scheme when they feel they are already able to pick and choose the best already?

  7. Claudette Wilson

    I think this is an excellent idea. Somethink needs to be done to address youth unemployment and the gap in skills and experience. It is better that they take part in a programme like this where they will be able to gain valuable experience and work skills rather than signing on and applying for jobs that they have little chance of getting. If something is not done to address this then it will have serious repercussions for years to come.