Traineeship restrictions for 19 to 24-year-olds will ‘add confusion and complexity’

A revised framework for traineeships has revealed a programme more restrictive for 19 to 24 year-olds than their 16 to 19 counterparts.

The updated Traineeships Framework for Delivery document, published by the government yesterday, says “for 19-24 year olds, the programme will be available only for those who have not yet achieved their first full level two qualification” — equivalent to five GCSEs grade A* to C.

However, the document says “for 16-19 year olds, providers will have flexibility to work with young people who have level two qualifications but not level three.”

The 19 to 24 year-old restriction has come as a surprise to the sector, and Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers told FE Week: “We were pleased that Traineeships were extended to 19 to 24-year-olds but having a different eligibility for different age groups is adding complexity to the system.

“It says in the Framework document providers and employers will have the freedom to work with the individuals within the target group who they feel would benefit most from traineeships.

“Therefore we would have liked the eligibility criteria for both age groups to have been the same. ”

“We really should also avoid any potential for confusion among employers and learners.”

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) spokesperson told FE Week: “BIS and the Department for Education have considered the target groups carefully for the 16-19 and 19-24 age groups. 16-19 year olds with a level two qualification are more likely to need this kind of provision than 19-24 year olds as they will have had less opportunities to gain experience in the labour market.”

She added: “Both departments will keep the traineeships policy under review.”

Traineeships were first proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in June last year for 16 to 24-year-olds. But there was disappointment throughout the sector in May when the first framework showed only those aged below 19 would be included in the programme.

The situation changed again however during this year’s Spending Review when the government decided to include the older age bracket when they are rolled out in August, also to include those with learning difficulty assessmentsup to academic age 25.

Yesterday’s revised framework set out what traineeships hoped to achieve. This included work preparation training such as interview preparation and CV writing, training in English and maths, a high-quality work placement between six weeks and five months and training from providers who were rated outstanding or good by education inspectors Ofsted.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Young people in Britain deserve the chance to work and get on in life which is why we’re introducing traineeships to help them get on the first rung of the ladder.

“Employers value real experience which is why I’m delighted that more than 100 businesses have come forward. I now want to urge more employers – no matter what size – to sign up to the programme and make the most of the talents of our young people.

“This is vital for our economy to compete in the global race. Traineeships are just one of the ways this government is making sure young people cross the start line.”

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  1. lindsay mcurdy

    who makes these decision, Please explain the rationale behind the decision that “for 16-19 year olds, providers will have flexibility to work with young people who have level two qualifications but not level three.”

    “for 19-24 year olds, the programme will be available only for those who have not yet achieved their first full level two qualification”— equivalent to five GCSEs grade A* to C.

    We have the 16 hour rule for people claiming jsa, which still needs to be addressed and now this. Could this result in businesses walking away from taking on a trainee?

    We have two weeks to go before traineeships starts and we need to get it right as Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group says, are “impressively ready… at a system level however, more work is needed” to ensure the programme contributes to building a world class skills system.

    Traineeships are a great opportunity to skill our young people but how they would work etc should not have been left until the last minute with FE Week printing articles with the title Traineeship restrictions for 19 to 24 year-olds will ‘add confusion and complexity’

    A comment from a member of app 4 England from America who has been looking at our traineeship and reviews.

    Comment from JS Member of App4England
    I have been reviewing forum postings and magazine articles over the past few weeks to get a flavor of your landscape before (and if) I do any real research. I was interested in this traineeships idea so made some enquiries. Got confused. I then was pointed towards “reviews”. More confused. Is it true that a minister simply asks someone to have a look around, talk to some buddies, write up some notes and get paid serious dollars and then gets ignored?

    In Indiana, the state administrators asked a question: “who is getting it right?” Right meaning economic growth, low levels of unemployment especially amongst young folk, no skills shortage and they took a fast plane straight to Germany — no stopover at Heathrow.

    Someone needs to book a ticket to Berlin. Auf wiederswehn!

  2. Paul Butler

    Cannot believe they’ve made 19-24s with a full L 2 ineligible! Totally missing the point!
    It’s about making them ready for employment/Apprenticeship, not about gaining a qual!!

  3. Simon Page

    I would like to know what “Combination of qualifications and units from the QCF and the special work placement funding” will get us to near the £4000ish we can expect for a 16-19 year old when working with a 19-24 year old?

    Schools are allowed the best part of 2 years to get a maths/English GCSE yet we are restricted to 24 weeks (and less than 16 hours per week if on JSA) to do the same if they already have FS at level 2. How may ITPs are accredited to deliver GCSEs? If you can’t get the funding to do them it seriously dents the income for 19-24s. Oh dear.

    Will the 19-24 Traineeship full qualifications be counted in our CR Success Rates? If a successful outcome is employment/further FE training will it be detrimental to allow them to take that opportunity if they haven’t had time to get their qualification that is funding the programme and be a success measure black mark?
    I may have got it all wrong though.

  4. Mark C

    This differentiation in policy will add to the ‘white noise’ which employers consistently feedback to government – puts them off engaging with ‘the system’. There is a massive ask from employers with the launch of Study Programmes and Traineeships; why add to the barriers that already exist with employer engagement? We are already seeing young people with qualifications (including literacy and numeracy) who cannot access the world of work due to lack of experience, this policy line will adversely affect them further. Surely the most willing and ready young people for the labour market should be accelerated rather than being disadvantaged?