Traineeships and school leaver programmes

What are traineeships and school leaver programmes, and how can they help you get an apprenticeship or a job? Find out here.

About traineeships

Traineeships prepare young people for future careers by helping them become work-ready. They are for 16 — 23 year olds, and young people with learning difficulty assessments up to age 25.

How do they work?

Traineeships last from six weeks to six months, with content tailored to your individual career needs. They offer:

  • work preparation training — gives you the skills and confidence needed for an apprenticeship or the first step in your career
  • skills you need to find a job — employers are at the centre of traineeships, so they focus on your skills and future success in employment
  • maths and English support — developing the skills you need for the workplace and boosting your job prospects, your long-term career progression, and earning potential
  • work experience — you'll get an insight into work, a useful reference, and an exit interview (or even a job interview if a role becomes available) 
  • an improved CV — traineeships give you great experience both practically and on paper

Is it right for me?

Traineeships are an ideal opportunity for young people who are motivated to get a job or an apprenticeship, but lack the skills and experience employers are looking for.

A traineeship could be suitable if:

  • you're unemployed (or work less than 16 hours per week) and have little work experience 
  • you're aged 16 — 19 and qualified below Level 3 (equivalent to two A levels at grades A to C) 
  • you're aged 19 — 23 and qualified below Level 2 (equivalent to five GCSEs at grades A* to C, or 9 to 4 in the new grading structure for England)
  • you think you'll be ready for employment within six months of starting a traineeship

It's probably not right if:

  • you already have the skills and experience needed to find an apprenticeship or work 
  • you're already in a job

You may also want to consider a supported internship.

About school leaver programmes

School leaver programmes give you a direct route into the world of work post-18.
  • The benefits of going straight into work are numerous and begin with earning a wage while you're learning – both on the job and formally.
  • There are also the benefits of learning new skills, meeting new people, travelling, and gaining the confidence and capabilities that come with working with people older and more knowledgeable than you.
  • Often employers will offer post-18 job options which allow you to develop into exactly the same end role as a graduate – just by taking a different route which may be better suited to you.
  • A typical school leaver programme will last between 12 months and five years, and may include obtaining a qualification as part of the programme objectives.