The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have today (1 August) marked the first anniversary of the government’s Traineeships programme by signing a joint statement of support for those wanting to take part in the scheme.
Both the TUC and CBI support Traineeships as a way to get young people, who might otherwise struggle to gain a foothold in the labour market, into an apprenticeship or other job. They provide young unemployed people with an opportunity to undertake work experience placements alongside substantial, structured learning at a training provider, including working towards maths and English qualifications.
However, for Traineeships to genuinely help young people into work they need to be of high quality. The joint statement stresses the importance of trainees learning relevant, transferrable skills, having a proper induction into the workplace and receiving regular feedback from managers.
TUC Assistant General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Traineeships can be an important first step towards the world of work for young people who are not ready to start an Apprenticeship or find a job.
“Traineeships must include good training and work experience and it is vital that trainees are fairly treated. They should also be voluntary – young people should not face sanctions if for some reason places are not taken up.
“The TUC encourages employers to pay travel and meal expenses, as well as providing financial support, where compatible with a young person’s benefit entitlement.
“The principles set out in today’s statement should guide employers when designing high quality Traineeships."
CBI Deputy Director-General Katja Hall said: “While the economic recovery is starting to reach young people, levels of youth unemployment in the UK are still worryingly high. Giving school and college leavers the opportunity to learn about the world of work, improve their skills and gain experience is vital if we are to address this crucial issue.
“As well as improving core skills like maths and English, Traineeships can give young people the chance to develop a real understanding of what is expected in the workplace, and what it takes to succeed. I hope our joint statement provides individual employers with the reassurance that well-designed Traineeships are supported by both the business community and the trade unions.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Traineeships are already proving a great stepping stone into Apprenticeships and other jobs, so I am delighted the TUC and CBI have come together to support the scheme. It is essential for employers to make sure that trainees have a high quality experience and gain valuable skills that will benefit them for their whole careers.
“Household names such as BT, the BBC and Siemens have already got involved alongside many smaller employers. This agreement should encourage even more businesses to sign up and provide opportunities for young people to gain the work experience and knowledge needed to begin their careers.”