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Information for Trainees

What is a Traineeship?

Traineeships are an opportunity to gain real work experience, job skills and improve your English and Maths if required.

The programme can last up to a maximum of six months with the content tailored to your individual career needs.

At its core a Traineeship is a high-quality work experience placement for 16 to 24 year olds that prepares you for your future career prospects. On a Traineeship you will gain the skills employers are looking for to boost your employment opportunities.

Is a Traineeship right for me?

Traineeships are ideal if you are motivated to get a job but lack the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

If you have been unsuccessful when applying for an Apprenticeship or full time employment due to a lack of skills and experience then you are likely to be a good candidate for a Traineeship.

You could be suitable for a Traineeship if you are: A Traineeship is probably not right for you if you:
Motivated to work Already have the skills and experience needed to find an Apprenticeship or full time employment
Unemployed, or work fewer than 16 hours per week and have little work experience Are 25 years old or older
Aged between 16 – 24 and do not hold a level 3 qualificationUnder 16 years old
Are already employed

How can I apply for a Traineeship?

Finding a Traineeship
Traineeships are advertised on the Government’s dedicated website.

Unlike Apprenticeships, Traineeships are created by employers. This gives them a lot of flexibility. Can’t find your perfect Traineeship listed? Why not think about what you’re really passionate about, and approach the organisations you’d like to work for directly.

Need help to apply?
Download our helpful guide to applying for Traineeships and apprenticeship for top tips on the application process.

What’s Next?

  • Register your interest for a Traineeship
  • Find out more about Apprenticeships

Downloadable Documents

How long do Traineeships last?
Traineeships can last for up to six months. The exact length will vary, however, depending on what your role is and what company you’re looking to work for.  
Will I be paid?
Traineeships are unpaid. The Government also encourages employers to help meet travel and meal costs. Depending on your individual circumstances you may be able to receive financial support from your local Job Centre. Once you have completed your traineeship, you’ll be ready to move on to an Apprenticeship or paid employment.
What is the difference between an Apprenticeship and a Traineeship?
Traineeships and Apprenticeships combine work and training, but vary in several ways.

Traineeships are much shorter, unpaid, and accessible to young people who need to improve their English and maths skills.

Apprenticeships last between 1 and 4 years, are paid a minimum wage, and will have entry requirements of GCSEs in English and Maths or equivalent.
What kind of Traineeships are available?
The content of your Traineeship is tailored to your individual career needs. You can find Traineeships in all the areas you would expect, but there are some more unusual career paths out there too, such as brewery assistant or beekeeper. There are also opportunities to get into a career that you might think requires higher education, such as accountancy and law.
What are the benefits of a Traineeship?
Taking a Traineeship will benefit you in lots of different ways.
- You’ll gain valuable work experience and build your CV
- You’ll learn about a business and the industry it works in
- You’ll be more competitive when applying for Apprenticeships or jobs
- If you need it, you’ll be supported with English and maths to boost your career prospects
- You’ll be ‘work ready’ and able to kick start your career
What happens when the Traineeship ends?
If a job is available in the company you’ve been working for, you’ll usually be guaranteed an interview. Even if there is no job available, you’ll be given an exit interview. This is a great chance to discuss what you’ve learned and gain feedback. You’ll also have a reference to put on your CV.

Once you’ve completed your Traineeship, you can then apply for an Apprenticeship or start looking for employment.
If I am not right for an Apprenticeship what can I do?
You can discuss your education and career options for free with the National Careers Service. The service can provide the guidance and inspiration you need for your next steps. Search online for ‘National Career Service or call 0800 100 900.