Plan to triple traineeships with £111m to include £1,000 employer ‘bonus’

The chancellor is expected to announce on Wednesday a £1,000 employer incentive funded from an injection of £111 million into the flagging traineeship programme, says the Treasury.

A Treasury spokesperson said the £1,000 bonus will be limited to 10 trainees per employer and the budget increase will also pay for a 55 percent increase in the training provider payment for 19 to 24-year-olds from £970 to £1,500.

Introduced as a flagship pre-employability programme in 2013, the traineeships are eligible for 16 to 24-year-olds and training providers are funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to deliver pre-employment training and arrange work placements from six weeks to six months.

But traineeship starts have been on a rapid decline, from a high of 24,100 in 2015/16 down to just 14,900 last year.

The scheme will be expanded to include people that already have level 3 qualifications and fund up to 36,700 more starts by “making available three times more funding to providers this year to pay for tripling the number of trainees, and also increasing the funding providers receive for training”.

The Treasury statement also refers to “a high-quality work placement of 60 to 90 hours” which, and this remains unclear, could be a new hours eligibility requirement for the “£1,000 bonus payment” to employers.

The statement goes on to say changes will be implemented in England from September 2020 and “expanding traineeships will be part of a wider package to support young people and to ensure they have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment”.


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  1. This is great news and much needed.
    It will be interesting to see how the ESFA revitalise this programme which has been in decline for a number of years.
    Do they provide funding to the proven deliverers since their inception in 2013 who are mainly subcontractors at a time when the direction of travel is to reduce subcontracting or do they provide additional Traineeship funding to lead providers who have struggled to direct deliver since 2013?
    Having delivered up to £3m of 19-24 Traineeships in a single year as a subcontractor it would be wonderful to be given the opportunity to deliver directly which would very much be in line with ESFA current policy.
    What are the chances?

  2. Simon

    We await the finer details but experience tells me that some employers will unfortunately abuse the system i.e. use it for cheap labour and as soon as the required time on programme expires out goes the Trainee, incomes the bonus payment and then “lets take on another one!” . Of course some will say dont re-engage with those employers and that’s what the organisation I work for will do but then employers just hop around the providers/colleges and there probably wont be anything to stop them from doing this. We dont want to go back to the YOPS/YTS days. It also doesn’t help the 16-18 year olds who dont want to go to college full time and would prefer the Apprenticeship route . Monies would have been far better spent to incentivise both recruitment of new Apprentices and retention of existing apprentices in the 16-25 year old age category.

  3. Robert

    As Colleges gear up for T-Levels and are working hard rising to the challenge to build the capacity to resource substantial 315 hour Industry Placements as highlighted in the T-level pilot evaluations report released on Friday, does this potentially make it even harder to build that capacity and lead to confusion?

    An Employer Support Fund was made available to employers to assist with resourcing these Substantial Placements of £750 per placement, but hoops needed to be jumped through to confirm that the employer wouldn’t have offered the Placement without it.

    Traineeships were designed to enable young people to progress onto apprenticeships, but now they are being offered to those that already have Level 3 qualifications?

    A £1000 bonus is being provided to employers, with no hoops to jump through, and skills training just involving some English and CSV writing support?

    I’m unclear, as I think employers will be, as to how this fits with the launch of T-levels and all the hard work that’s been put into piloting and refining this new flagship qualification, which could now be hampered by 36,700 placements being diverted away from T-levels to Traineeships.