The Traineeships programme – which will be launched nationwide this August – is targeted at 16-24 year olds who are unemployed and who need to gain additional skills to find an Apprenticeship or employment.
The TUC agrees with ministers that high-quality work experience is an important factor in helping young people into work. However, it is concerned that poor quality schemes could lead to exploitation, with trainees being used as free labour and possibly even displacing existing workers.
Young people can also become disillusioned with schemes if they are not given relevant high-quality training and work experience or any chance of a job at the end of a placement, warns the TUC.
The TUC has therefore launched its Traineeships Charter – designed for union reps, but also useful for employers, training providers and young people looking to start a traineeship – that sets out several key points to ensure that a Traineeship is high quality.
The Charter says that young people should expect the following from a Traineeship:
• Where work of value is done by a trainee, employers should pay them. This will also help prevent trainees displacing existing workers.
• Placements should give young people the skills relevant to their aims and the needs of the local labour market to raise their chances of future employment.
• Trainees should be offered careers guidance and advice on other work-related issues such as health and safety and employment rights.
• Qualifications received on a traineeship should count towards an apprenticeship framework.
“Traineeships can provide a vital bridge between education and work or an Apprenticeship – but only if they are of sufficiently high quality.
“Bad schemes can exploit trainees and displace existing workers from paid employment without doing anything to help young people into work.
“For a work placement to be genuinely useful it should offer fair pay when work of value is done, proper careers guidance and a guaranteed job interview at the end.
“While the TUC Traineeships Charter is primarily designed for union reps to negotiate better schemes with employers, it should also be useful for training providers and young people wanting to know what to expect from a good quality work placement.”