The government’s flagship traineeship programme is set to be opened up to more young people as part of the effort to tackle youth unemployment, it will be announced today.
Skills minister Nick Boles will tell delegates at the Association of Colleges’ annual conference in Birmingham that the changes - including simplified funding and better use of data - will make it easier for employers to create “top quality” traineeships.
More than 10,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 have started a traineeship since they were introduced in August 2013. They are designed to give low-skilled young people the skills, experience and confidence to help them into apprenticeships or work.
The changes follow consultation on ways to ensure traineeships have the best results for young people.
The government said the joint DfE and BIS proposals received positive responses from a wide range of those involved in the programme including training providers, students and employers.
Respondents overwhelmingly supported wider eligibility for traineeships, backed changes to improve data on trainees’ outcomes and welcomed a more consistent approach to funding across the 16 to 24 age-group.
Mr Boles will say traineeships are proving a “fantastic opportunity”. “But there is much more potential, so I want to see training providers and employers offer many more places,” he is due to tell delegates.
“The changes I am announcing today are based on feedback directly from those involved in the programme. I am confident it will be even easier to create top quality traineeships, focused on getting young people into apprenticeships and other jobs.”
Teresa Frith, senior skills policy manager for the Association of Colleges, said aligning funding and eligibility across the 16 to 24-year-old age range will make it easier for colleges to provide effective traineeships to help more young people into the workplace.
“The government consulted colleges directly about traineeships funding and we hope that moving toward minimum progression standards will remove the need to use the ‘blunt instrument’ of an Ofsted grade to restrict access to traineeship delivery in the future,” she added.
Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group of colleges, said, “The key message in this response is that wholesale change to the funding system is not needed.
“We support an incremental approach that begins to make intelligent use of data about learner outcomes, and are very pleased that this will not result in major disruption to a programme that is only in its second year.”