8 Traineeships |
131. As we set out in chapter 1, traineeships have
been running since the 2013/14 academic year, with 10,500 starts
by 16 to 19 year-olds since the programme began. The DfE describe
An education and training programme with a core
of work preparation training, English, maths, and work experience,
designed to equip young people with the skills and experience
they need to be able to gain an apprenticeship or sustainable
Further learning is also considered a successful
outcome after a traineeship.
132. The evidence we received on traineeships highlighted
the demand for programmes to assist young people who require further
support to progress to a job, an apprenticeship, or to further
study. Whether the current traineeships programme meets this need
is less clear. New Economy Manchester questioned the benefit to
young people provided by traineeships:
In general people and agencies who work with
young people at risk of being excluded from labour market opportunities
support the traineeships programme. Yet there are some significant
flaws. The benefits that individual trainees derive from the programme
are unclearthere is no qualification at the end, the role
is unpaid, and the pledge of an exit interview somewhat opaque.
We heard more positive evidence from BT and OCR.
Deborah Lee, BT's Chief Learning Officer, told us:
We find it to be incredibly beneficial, for the
employee, the trainee and the employer. 63% of our [trainees],
having gone through our programme, which is six weeks and two
days, have come out and gone into further education or a role.
A number of things happen during those six weeks: they gain confidence;
they get an insight into work life. In some cases, they have not
had role models in their own households before, because they have
come from families that have not been working. Just to understand
what it feels like and to work with people who are quite excited
about the workplace and work has been really beneficial. We have
seen huge success stories with individuals gaining confidence
and new skills, and coming out of it feeling quite proud.
OCR said that 22 of the 23 people (96%) who enrolled
on their scheme progressed to similar destinations.
133. There is some confusion about what the traineeships
programme is intended to achieve. Stephen Overell told us:
One of the problems with traineeships is, arguably,
they are not sufficiently targeted. We do not know exactly who
they are for. There is a lot of speculation about precisely who
traineeships are aimed at. They are clearly aimed at people with
relatively low skills, given the eligibility criteria for them.
Are they aimed at NEETs? Are they aimed at people who are jobseekers
currently? These are all very valid questions.
134. It is clear that good quality traineeships can
have a positive impact, but given the lack of wider destination
data, it is hard to judge the success of the scheme as a whole.
We welcome the Government's commitment to providing better quality
data may not always provide a totally accurate assessment of a
provider's performance, due to external factors like local labour
Nevertheless, more needs to be done to ensure that the impact
of providers is measured.
135. In their submission, BT also raised concerns
about how the traineeships programme is marketed by Job Centre
Plus staff. They suggested that "until recently [Job Centre
Plus] was not actively championing the initiative. This was due
to a conflict with benefits rules and confusion on the scope of
It is vital that a lack of knowledge of the traineeships programme
does not prevent those who are most likely to benefit from a traineeship
from being able to access the scheme.
136. As part of this inquiry we heard worrying evidence
about the numbers of young people whose destination is unknown.
Lorna Fitzjohn described the situation in Birmingham:
As at the end of 2013 there are 40,178 16 to
18 year olds known to the Birmingham local authority. Of these,
the proportion whose activity is not known is 23.5 percent.
Figures for other local authorities vary, from 0.3%
in Thurrock to 39.3% in Worcestershire.
A recent report from the Public Accounts Committee put the national
average at 7%.
In our report on careers advice, we argued that the Government
should act to address the variation in the level of support provided
by local authorities to those who are at risk of disengagement
by actively promoting good practice.
We remain convinced that this is necessary.
Conclusions and recommendations
impact of traineeships is currently unclear. Where employers and
providers have engaged with the programme there are examples of
positive outcomes for participants. There is a clear need for
a pre-employment programme to help young people into employment
138. The Government should provide greater clarity
about the purpose of traineeships and what the success criteria
for the programme are.
139. The Government should ensure that Job Centre
Plus staff are able to advise people properly about the impact
of traineeships on benefit entitlement.
140. The Government should promote the activities
of the best performing local authorities so that best practice
in identifying and delivering services to young people at risk
of disengagement is shared.
163 DfE () para xiv Back
DfE, Traineeship funding in England - Funding reform technical consultation: Government Response,
November 2014, p.12 Back
New Economy Manchester (AAT0076) para 1.3 Back
OCR (AAT0081) p.8 Back
DfE, Traineeships funding in England - Funding reform technical consultation: Government Response,
November 2014, p. 4 Back
Q268 [Darren Northcott] Back
BT (AAT0025) p.4 Back
Ofsted () Back
DfE, NEET data by Local Authority, May 2014 Back
Committee of Public Accounts, Thirty-first report of Session 2013-14,
16- 18-year-old participation in education and training, HC707,
para 5 Back
Education Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2012-13, Careers Guidance for young people: the impact of the new duty on schools,
HC 632-I, para 115 Back