Career Options


You might have left school without the required qualifications or work experience for an intermediate apprenticeship, don’t worry! There are still ways of getting ahead.

Traineeships are specifically designed to help young people aged between 16 and 24 who may not have been able to gain the necessary experience and qualifications during their time at school. They help you develop those crucial skills and gain the qualifications needed to meet entry requirements for apprenticeships and further education.


Many young people leave school, 16-years-young, unsure of what to do next. They face two dilemmas:

‘I don’t have the qualifications to get a job, an apprenticeship or to start a career’ OR

‘I have no work experience! I don’t know what is expected of me at work, or in a professional environment’

If you have neither the qualifications nor the work experience to take your next step after school, there is another path that you can take… a TRAINEESHIP! Intrigued?


What is a Traineeship?

Traineeships are short, flexible education programmes designed for 16-24 year olds. They were introduced in the UK to help young people develop and learn the essential skills that will help them find a career.

The aim of a traineeship is to help people of school leaver age, or slightly older, to acquire the crucial skills that many employers look for in apprentices, graduates and potential future employees.

This can include soft skills, such as organisation and communication, as well as basic qualifications in literacy and numeracy. A traineeship can also involve interview preparation, and help with filling out application forms for further education schemes.

Traineeships are specifically designed to help young people develop the skills and qualifications that, for whatever reason, they may not have been able to pick up at school. Trainees then have the opportunity to showcase these skills to employers though short work experience placements.

A traineeship can be considered as a pathway into further education programmes like apprenticeships, and a first step towards a career.

View Traineeship Vacancies →

How Does a Traineeship Work?

All traineeships comprise of three main elements...


This element of a traineeship is focused on helping a young person with applications for jobs and school leaver schemes.

This can involve workshops for writing CV’s and cover letters, filling out application forms and preparation for interviews.

Work preparation training is also designed to impart the soft skills – such as planning, presentation and interpersonal skills - which are crucial to working in a professional environment.


Work placements are an integral part of traineeship programmes. They are an opportunity to put into practice and refine the soft skills that were mentioned above.

A work placement might be several days/weeks shadowing an employer, or working for a local company. This is valuable work experience, and is also a great addition to your CV.


Most employers look for GCSEs in English and Maths as an entry requirement for intermediate and advanced apprenticeships.

If you do not have the sufficient grades for an apprenticeship, a traineeship will focus on helping you achieve passes in these core subjects.

Some trainees work towards alternative qualifications in literacy and numeracy, so that they can qualify for a school leaver scheme.

“The job market is really hard. The only thing employers want is experience, but what if you’ve just left college and you don’t have any? That’s where the experience at Jaguar Land Rover helped me. It was really great to do the ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce’ course and I loved every second, especially the work placement. At the end of it I’ve come out with a job at Jaguar Land Rover!” Jake Bickerstaff, Trainee, Jaguar Land Rover.

All traineeships comprise of the same three elements; however, they are highly-flexible programmes.

Traineeships recognise that every young person is different, and thus requires a different level of training. These schemes are designed to cater for the specific needs of an individual. Each traineeship will therefore vary in terms of duration and the topics covered.

A traineeship programme can last any length of time between six weeks to six months. The duration of the course will depend on the level of training required to upskill the trainee.

Your traineeship will last until you are work-ready. Disappear over to our jobs page and check out our traineeship vacancies!

how does a traineeship work

Entry Requirements for Traineeships

To be eligible for involvement in a traineeship programme, you’ll need to meet a few essential requirements...

  • you need to be eligible to work in the UK
  • you need to be unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • applicants must be aged between 16-24
  • applicants must be motivated to work
  • have no qualifications above GCSE level (or equivalent)

If you already possess the skills, the qualifications and the experience needed to find an apprenticeship or a job, a traineeship is not for you!

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for a traineeship, contact your local college or training provider to see if you meet the requirements.

“In 2014/15, 50% of trainees progressed into an apprenticeship or other employment, and a further 17% undertook further education” Traineeships, Framework for delivery 2015 to 2016, Department for Education

Traineeships Wages

Traineeship wages vary from scheme to scheme. This is because employers are not legally required to pay trainees. Many employers cover transport and meal expenses as an alternative to paying a wage.

Trainees are also not guaranteed to be paid for their work experience placements. A traineeship is not considered to be a job, so candidates are exempt from the National Minimum Wage.

Individual circumstances can be taken into consideration. Extra financial support can be provided for travel or childcare costs, or if you require further support due to a disability.

While trainees are not guaranteed a wage, they do not have to fret over tuition costs. All training costs are covered by the government. Furthermore, 16-19 year olds can still claim Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit during a traineeship.

It’s best to check employer’s websites for specific information regarding traineeship wages. RateMyApprenticeship also has a collection of reviews of traineeship programmes, for schemes across the UK.

The reviews are written by trainees, and delve into the content and structure of a traineeship. They also reveal information about how much a trainee was paid, and can give you a good idea of how much a certain employer or training provider pays their trainees.

Click here to access reviews of traineeships.

Here is a case study of a 12-week traineeship organised by OCR:

“I lacked hands-on work experience, which essentially made me undesirable to employers as I had no office-based experience. I was encouraged to interview for a place on the pilot traineeship scheme, and was placed with my employers, International Claims Agency. Over 12 weeks, I learned how to juggle workloads as well as how to deal with a variety parties including claimants, removal companies and brokers, which really improved my confidence. I received on-the-job training during my work placement as well as completing OCR’s Cambridge Progression qualification. Once the programme ended I was kept on, and am proud to have been trusted with the opportunity to train others, allowing me to develop my own leadership and management skills.”

What Qualifications Could I Gain?

Traineeships offer young people the chance to gain an array of qualifications. These qualifications concentrate on employment, and reflect the career goals and capabilities of the trainee.

For example, OCR and NCE offer a Level 1 Award in Employability Skills. The qualification covers a wide-range of skills and competencies related to employability. This programme includes modules in:

  • understanding customers
  • dealing with your first days at work
  • business and customer awareness
  • setting targets
  • time-management
  • handling information at work
  • presenting information
  • creative thinking
  • problem solving at work
  • working in a team
  • ICT for employment

“19, 400 young people completed a traineeship during 2014/15” Employer Guide to Apprenticeships, City & Guilds

A training provider will evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and ambitions, and choose a series of modules to best suit your needs and improve your job prospects.

Traineeships also focus on literacy and numeracy qualifications. If a candidate has not achieved GCSE passes in English and Maths, they will continue to study these subjects. Trainees work towards qualifications that are equivalent to GCSEs, such as Functional Skills in English (level 2) and Mathematics (level 2).

These qualifications focus on the more applied aspects of English and Maths, such as problem solving, spelling and grammar, and writing for different purposes. Function Skills are designed to impart hard skills, which are crucial to getting a job or school leaver scheme after a traineeship.

how does a traineeship work

In addition, training providers have the flexibility to add aspects of training depending on the needs of the labour market. This could include vocational qualifications and skills that required by specific businesses and employers.

Employers and training providers will offer support for qualifications begun during a traineeship, even after the scheme has ended.

Traineeships in London

There is an abundance of opportunities for traineeships in London. Some of the UK’s top employers have headquarters in the capital and offer work experience placements for trainees.

Trainees generally receive higher funding for schemes located in London due to higher travel and living costs.

Just imagine all the thrills you could have if you do an apprenticeship in London… you could eat finger sandwiches in the Olympic Park; you could go to the Natural History Museum, and check out some first-rate natural history; you could go to Covent Garden, and watch the break dancers do back-flips, head spins and such things.

All the while, developing the skills that are essential to starting a career.

Engineering Traineeships

A traineeship in engineering – who knows where it could lead… an apprenticeship, a school leaver programme, a career! You could design and build bridges, medical equipment, or the world’s first talking cheeseboard.

Engineering traineeships are designed to prepare a young person for a professional apprenticeship in the engineering sector. They involve English and Maths tuition (for those who need it), work preparation training and a high-quality work placement.

Some engineering trainees also complete a work trial, with the aim of securing permanent employment.

During the work trial, a trainee will learn skills from the ground up - using professional tools, learning CAD (computer aided design) and range of other crafts.

Business Traineeships

Business traineeships are similar in practice to traineeships in different industries. A trainee will receive tuition in English and Maths if they do not have GCSEs in those subjects, and they will undertake basic work-preparation training.

The work-preparation will cover CV writing, interview training, and can even include assistance with job applications. Just say, for example, you can’t locate your national insurance number, your training provider will obtain it for you. If you do not have an active bank account (which is essential for professional employment), your training provider will help you set one up!

The defining feature of a business traineeship is the work placement. A trainee will have a short work placement with a local business or employer.

Trainees will get experience in business administration and customer service, and have the opportunity to shadow an experienced professional who works in the business sector. The work placement is a valuable addition to a CV, and can make a job/apprenticeship application stand out from the rabble.

IT Traineeships

A traineeship in IT provides young people with the skills, work experience and the confidence they need to begin a career in the IT and technology industry.

IT trainees will split their time between a training provider and a work placement. With the help of the training provider, a trainee will work towards a qualification, such as a Level 1 City & Guilds in ICT System Support.

Qualifications like this provide an introduction to IT in the professional environment, as well as building a foundation of relevant knowledge and skills.

The work placement will be organised by a local employer in the IT or technology sector. A trainee will work with the local employer for 2-3 days a week, for a minimum of six weeks. Employers will assign a mentor for the trainee, so that they have on-the-job support throughout their training.

wide choice of traineeships

Find a Traineeship

Traineeships sound cool. Hip, you might say. So, just in case you haven’t already been convinced, here are five reasons why you should do a traineeship...


A traineeship is a pathway to an apprenticeship or employment. A traineeship is a pathway to your future career. Traineeships are specifically designed to give a young person the skills and the qualifications to prepare them for employment or a higher-level scheme.


Traineeships are flexible. Each scheme is different, and arranged to suit the needs of the candidate. If you need to improve your English and Maths skills to get qualifications, if you lack real-work experience, or you need help writing a CV, do a traineeship.


A traineeship is an opportunity to upskill yourself, and get work experience in your local area. Traineeships tend to be local, and training providers find local businesses and employers for you to do a short work experience placement.


Traineeships are available with some of the UK’s top employers. More and more companies have realised that they can use traineeships as a means of introducing young people to their apprenticeship and school leaver schemes. A traineeship is not only a pathway to an apprenticeship or a career, it is pathway to the UK’s biggest and best employers.


A traineeship is a great addition to your CV. It will demonstrate - on paper - that you are ready for work. Traineeships not only show that you have the required skills and work experience, but that you have an ambition, and a determination to build a career.

Traineeships, quite simply, help you to become WORK-READY.

Check out our vacancies for traineeships, and take your first step towards your future career.

View jobs →

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