A traineeship is a short training course that includes a work placement, lasting between six weeks and one year, although almost all are less than six months.

Traineeships will provide you with the skills and experience that employers are looking for to prepare you for work. The main difference between traineeships and apprenticeships is that a traineeship focuses less on work.

Instead, the traineeship will provide you with the opportunity to gain functional skills, including improving your CV, how to apply for jobs and interview skills. However, traineeships will still include a work placement of at least 70 hours.

A traineeship is for those young people who are keen to begin work but lack the experience required to get a job or apprenticeship in their field. This means the maximum qualification you can have is Level 3, the equivalent to 2 A-Level passes. You must be between 16 and 24 or 25 if you have an education, health, and care plan (EHC).

There are a range of industries offering traineeships with something to suit everyone, including engineering, business, and IT.

Engineering traineeships provide high-quality work preparation training followed by a work placement and prepare young people to enter into an apprenticeship in the sector. Some engineering trainees will complete a work trial during their placement, with the aim of securing permanent employment.

The basis of a business traineeship is on work-preparation, including assistance with job applications and mock-interviews. However, the defining feature of a traineeship in business is the work placement. Trainees will gain experience in business administration, customer service, and are offered the chance to shadow an experienced professional.

A traineeship in IT will provide students with the skills, experience, and confidence they need to enter a career in the IT and technology industry successfully. IT trainees are assigned a mentor to provide on-the-job support during their industry placement.

The traineeship is unpaid, but the Government will completely cover the cost of your training provider. Some traineeships will offer to cover certain expenses: The employer may cover your transport and meal costs; your training provider may provide financial support to cover travel, childcare or for any disabilities; and, if you are eligible for work benefits, your local Jobcentres Plus may provide additional support.

When with the training provider, they will help catch you up to speed with any essential skills needed to begin work. These include English, maths, and digital skills if required. However, most of the training is based on helping you get a job or apprenticeship in the field. This means sector focussed lessons, so you know what to expect in the role, training in writing a CV, and how to operate in a workplace.

The work placement is not you performing a job role, but a continuation of the training programme within a work setting. This will help give you a first-hand understanding of what skills are needed to operate in such a role and help you decide whether to continue down that career path.

Depending on the training provider, you may have the opportunity to gain a qualification during your traineeship. As part of the maths and English support provided, you may work towards a Level 2 Functional Skills qualification if you haven’t achieved the necessary GCSEs.

If there is a job or apprenticeship available, the employer will give you an interview for the role upon completion of the traineeship. If there is no available position, you will still be guaranteed an exit interview with written feedback that could teach you vital lessons when applying for a job or apprenticeship in the future.

To find a traineeship in your area go to the Government’s dedicated website.