The first  traineeships, the new government programme targeted at young people to help them acquire work-related skills and attitudes, are on track to  start in September this year,  says FE minister Matthew Hancock.

He told training providers, business leaders, apprentices and awarding bodies at a Voice of Apprentices conference in London last week that the traineeships were a “personal priority”.

Several of the 300 delegates raised concerns around the implementation of the traineeships, their purpose and what they would mean for apprenticeships.

Mr Hancock said that traineeships were a “very important part of the picture”.

“This is a personal priority of mine as minister. Traineeships are an important part of work to increase the rigour and quality of apprenticeships. We need to ensure that we provide a provision for those that need support to get a job, to get into the position of applying and holding down that job,” he said.

“We have been very consultative around the introduction of traineeships. I know that there is plenty of good practice out there from many providers and I acknowledge there is lots that I still am not aware of.

“But let me be clear, I don’t want to get in the way of this good provision. I want to support it through traineeships and bring together some of the different strands under an umbrella that also supports progression into apprenticeships and into a job.

“The timings are tight for their implementation, but they will form an integral part of the future architecture of apprenticeships.”

The minister also promised a further immediate consultation.

The forthcoming consultation will more or less explain how we will do it ”

“Our first consultation, launched earlier this year in January, looked at what we wanted to do and posed questions about how we might achieve this. The forthcoming consultation will more or less explain how we will do it and ask the sector for comments on those plans, he said.

“I am very keen that we consult a wide and varying audience on how we design and build, what I think is a very important improvement.”

The Voice of Apprentices conference, the third of its kind and the largest yet, celebrated  apprenticeships and the positive effect they have on individuals and business.

It was chaired by FE Week editor Nick Linford and included more than 24 speakers from across FE and industry, including several apprentices.

During the various presentations and Q&A sessions, delegates and speakers shared their experiences of apprenticeships and their concerns and questions for their future.

This year’s conference, organised by Lindsay McCurdy of Apprenticeships 4 England, was held at the capital’s Tower Hotel.

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