Initial NIACE response to Traineeships

15 January 2013

NIACE welcomes the establishment of a comprehensive programme of pre-Apprenticeship and employment Traineeships, but hopes that the content is as supportive and expansive to the needs of the individual as possible.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Head of Learning for Work at NIACE, said:

“We’re certain that the quality of the proposed new Traineeships will be absolutely central to their success. This proposal is a genuine attempt to address a very real need by providing eligible participants with the skills and aptitudes they need to win and secure sustained employment, preferably with training. But the good intentions of this initiative will be destroyed if there is the slightest whiff of employer exploitation of the Trainees who are undertaking the work placement element of the programme.

NIACE would like to lend its support to the Government to help facilitate discussions about the proposals, in the belief that all training and learning is enhanced when it actively involves the voice of the learners at its heart. We’d like to extend the discussions to cover eligible adults where appropriate too, as it feels that the need for this programme ought not to face a guillotine at the age of 24.

Finally, NIACE welcomes the launch of this discussion paper around the much needed proposed Traineeships. We’ll make a more detailed response, including an attempt to address the 12 questions asked in the report, nearer to the deadline on 8 February.”

NIACE welcomes the establishment of a comprehensive programme of pre-Apprenticeship and employment Traineeships, which are designed to provide eligible beneficiaries with a combination of English and maths training to level 2 (where appropriate), intensive work skills training, as well as a range of additional flexible support including other education and skills, vocational qualifications, mentoring, job search support and careers guidance, combined with a period of high quality work placement and a job interview guarantee.

However, the content of Traineeships must be as expansive as possible and the Traineeship experience should be tailored to the needs of the individual, providing them with sufficient support and advocacy to successfully launch their career. Further details of how this will work alongside any benefits they may be receiving or other programmes are needed.

NIACE agrees that the primary objective of Traineeships should be to equip beneficiaries with the skills and experience they need to secure an Apprenticeship or another good job. NIACE would not restrict the programme to young people exclusively, however, as there are a proportion of adults over the age of 24, who would similarly benefit from this structured approach to acquiring essential employment skills and experience.

An approach should be taken on Traineeships that builds upon the findings of the Good Practice Evaluation of the Diversity in Apprenticeship Pilots – and other important equality and diversity investigations, including the Peter Little report and the latest research by Unionlearn – in order to ensure the widest participation by eligible people regardless of age, gender, race or disability.