What is a traineeship?

A Traineeship is a free skills development programme that help prepare young people for future careers by helping them become work-ready. They are for 16-24 year olds, and young people with learning difficulty assessments up to age 25.


How do they work?

Traineeships are free and last from six weeks to six months, with content tailored to your individual career needs. They offer:

  • training to prepare you for work, including CV writing and what to expect in the workplace
  • support to improve your English, maths and digital skills if you need it
  • sector focused vocational learning to help prepare you for your apprenticeship or job and recognition of your learning
  • a high-quality work placement of at least 70 hours
  • an interview for an apprenticeship or job if available, or an exit interview with written feedback.


Traineeship is a training programme and employers are not required to pay you for the work placement. Some colleges and employers may pay a training allowance or may cover other costs such as travel or lunch during the work placement. You might also qualify for support from your local Jobcentre Plus if you are eligible for work benefits.


Traineeships are an ideal for young people who are motivated to get a job or an apprenticeship, but do not have the skills and experience employers are looking for.

You can apply for a traineeship if:

  • you're unemployed (or work less than 16 hours per week) and have little work experience 
  • you're aged 16 — 19 and qualified below Level 3 (equivalent to two A levels at grades A to C) 
  • you're aged 19 — 23 and qualified below Level 2 (equivalent to five GCSEs at grades A* to C, or 9 to 4 in the new grading structure for England)
  • you think you'll be ready for employment within six months of starting a traineeship

Traineeship is probably not right option for you, if:

  • you already have the skills and experience needed to find an apprenticeship or work 
  • you're already in a job