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Government to scrap traineeships programme in 2023

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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The Government is to stop offering its traineeships scheme from next August following several years of low start rates.

Skills Minister Robert Halfon confirmed the decision in a written ministerial statement delivered in the House of Commons today.

Traineeships are skills development programmes which include a period of work experience, targeted at 16 to 24-year-olds. The scheme has been running since 2013.

More recently however, the scheme has seen a decline in uptake. During the 2021/22 period, the Government drastically missed its target of running 43,000 traineeships, with just 15,000 new starters recorded. This missed target comes despite the Treasury’s investment of £126 million in traineeships for the period.

Halfon said in his statement: “The traineeship programme has been running for nearly 10 years and the number of starts has remained relatively low.

“It is right, therefore, that we focus our offer on our mainstream provision. This change will make it easier for young people and employers to navigate our skills offer and will enable providers to better tailor their programmes to deliver the key skills needed to drive growth in local communities.”

The T Level transition programme, T Levels, boot camps, apprenticeships, and sector-based work academies are expected to act as sufficient alternatives, according to Halfon, and the traineeship programme will be integrated into other existing 16-19 study programmes for teenagers, as well as the non-devolved adult education budget.

The statement also adds that where the adult education budget has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities and Greater London Authority will decide themselves how best to support young adults in their area.

The decision to scrap traineeships entirely has been heavily criticised by many, including the Association of Employment and Learning. Jane Hickie, Chief Executive of AELP said: “We must do everything we can to equip young people with the skills employers need. Axing traineeships would be incredibly short-sighted.

“The government’s own research on traineeships shows their effectiveness. Around three-quarters of all trainees have successful outcomes – either taking on work, starting an apprenticeship or further study – within 12 months. This compares to fewer than half of all non-trainees. Employer demand is high too.

“Training providers are already having to make difficult decisions – this could be the final nail in the coffin for many.”

Hickie added that abandoning the training scheme will disproportionately impact certain minority groups: “The government has not published an equality impact assessment, but we do know 33% of traineeship participants come from ethnic minority backgrounds, and 23% have learning difficulties or disabilities.

“Furthermore, this will particularly impact disadvantaged under 19s and their ability to access provision.”

Traineeships will continue to be funded until the end of July 2023, meaning that people starting on or before this date will be able to continue their programme.

Looking to kickstart your career in the food and drink industry? Don’t miss Food Matters Live’s Careers Event taking place in London in 2023

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