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Traineeships have had 'positive impact', research shows

The majority of young people and employers feel positive about the impact of the government’s traineeship programme, according to new research.

An evaluation of the first year of the programme found that 79 per cent of trainees were satisfied with their experience, as 97 per cent of employers and 98 per cent of providers agreed that traineeships would help young people find a permanent job or apprenticeship.

Traineeships are an education and training programme for 16- to 24-year-olds, which includes high-quality work experience and work preparation training as well as English and maths.

They can last between six weeks and six months, but are designed to help young people find work or start an apprenticeship as quickly as possible.

More than 10,000 young people started a traineeship in 2013-14, the first year of the programme, and there have been 5,000 further starts in the first three months of 2014-15.

Earlier this week in a letter to the sector, skills minister Nick Boles said he wanted to double the number of traineeships to more than 20,000 this year.

The research took in the views of 1,590 trainees, 200 providers and 218 employers involved in the programme between August 2013 and July 2014.

The majority of trainees in the sample (59 per cent) had completed their traineeship, 30 per cent left early and 11 per cent were still on the programme.

Half of those who had left early did so because they didn’t like it, either because of the work experience, the English and maths training, the work preparation training, the travel or the hours.

Half of the trainees who had completed the traineeship were either on an apprenticeship (22 per cent) or in work (28 per cent), and a further 17 per cent were in training or education.

Eighty per cent said the support they received during the work preparation training had helped to improve their job search.

Some trainees, providers and employers had concerns about the programme, however. Trainees who had recently started raised concerns about the clarity of communication about the next steps into apprenticeships, and some had expected a guaranteed apprenticeship place to follow.

Some providers were unclear about how to deliver the programme and said more guidance would have been helpful, and a number of employers were confused about differences between traineeships and apprenticeships.

The main improvements suggested by providers and employers were to offer a financial incentive to trainees, and to improve promotion and advertising.

The research found that providers who decided not to take part in traineeships said they did so mainly because they were concerned about the impact on their resources of delivering a new and untested programme, and because they doubted whether they had the necessary expertise to make it a success.

A report by the Education Select Committee published earlier this week says there is “confusion” about traineeships and their impact is “currently unclear”.

It also recommends that the government provides greater clarity about the purpose of traineeships and the success criteria for the programme.


Related stories:

Apprenticeships and traineeships continue to grow, new figures show – 9 March, 2015

Traineeships to be opened up to more young people, says government – 18 November, 2014

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