Traineeships for Employers

The Government have recently relaunched traineeship programmes, as part of their wider ‘Plan for Jobs agenda’, to help young people gain the right skills to get into employment.

Traineeships have been given a major funding boost recently with the ambition to triple the number of Traineeship starts to over 30,000 each year.

What is a Traineeship?

A traineeship is an education and training programme which is designed for people aged 16 to 24 who don’t yet have the appropriate skills or experience, traineeships provide the essential work preparation training, English, maths and work experience needed to secure an apprenticeship or employment.

A Traineeship offers the employer the opportunity to work with your future leaders and contribute in the development of a structured programme of support for those aged 16-24.

What makes up a Traineeship?

Foundation Skills


Upto GCSE Level 2


Upto GCSE Level 2

Employability SupportWORK PREPERATION
Work Experience70 HR WORK PLACEMENT

What are the benefits of an SPS Traineeship programme?

  • Employers are entitled to a £1,000 incentive per Traineeship placement.
  • Traineeships allow businesses to access local potential employees to build a talent pipeline for their organisation. With such a broad spectrum of skills currently in the jobs market, an opportunity of work experience for a candidate can be the first step to retraining or trying out a new career. This can play a significant role in a company’s successful recruitment process, providing a ready-made source of talent and helping to fill current and future skills gaps.
  • High calibre candidates – The SPS Traineeship programme is open to those aged 16-24 and candidates can be educated up to level 3 (equivalent to A level)
  • Ongoing support whilst in pre-training and during the work placement to ensure that the traineeship works for the business and the individual
  • Traineeships can help fulfil an organisation’s corporate and social responsibility agenda, supporting outreach and employment opportunities in local communities
  • Traineeships can be a great foundation for apprenticeships or other employment.
  • Working with trainees can give existing colleagues the chance to develop their coaching and mentoring skills.
  • SPS Traineeships are designed to suit all sectors and industries; they are collaborative programmes and are flexible to offer the best outcomes
  • For candidates, traineeships are a great opportunity to explore a job role and company, to gain the skills that businesses really need and to springboard into a successful career. Recent Government figures  show that 75% of trainees get a job, take up an apprenticeship or go on to further study within six months of completing their programme.

* – The employer incentive is no longer available.

Find out more about Traineeships

Contact our Traineeships team by sending an email to Traineeship website

Employer Comments about Traineeships

“Traineeships are an excellent way for young trainees to come and show the value of hiring them for entry roles. Our Traineeship learners have all been offered a job at the end of their placement”.
“We were not able to offer employment to our trainee but it was amazing to see them growing in confidence and raising their own aspirations of achievement. I am so pleased he got a role within weeks of his placement”.

Frequently asked questions

What is the minimum and maximum duration of a Traineeship?

To ensure that Traineeships are good value their will be an expectation the minimum duration for the full Traineeship is 6 weeks (3-weeks for the work experience component) and a maximum of 12 months.

Who is responsible for claiming the Traineeship Employer incentive?

The employer is required to claim the incentive directly from the website. SPS will provide a few key details of information to help you make the claim. Funds are paid directly to the employer within 90 days of making a successful claim.

Employer incentives can only be claimed on completion of the work placement hours.

How do you deliver the English, Maths and Digital skills support?

Our English, Maths and Digital skills learning is undertaken using a blend of independent e-learning and supported taught sessions. Learners will be required to allocate a minimum of 6 hours per week per subject to this mandatory learning.

The trainee has already achieved their Level 2 in English, Maths or ICT?

The trainee will be required to enrol on English, Maths or Digital skills if they have not previously achieved the Level 2 equivalent grades. Trainees who have already achieved the necessary grades in the subject will be exempt from this learning.

Are university graduates entitled to a Traineeship?

No, graduates cannot participate in Traineeships.

Traineeship placements are only eligible for those with a Level 3 or below. A university graduate is higher than a Level 3.

To see a full list of comparable qualifications, please use this link.

What qualification levels mean: England, Wales and Northern Ireland – GOV.UK (

Traineeships are in England can you deliver in Wales and Scotland?

Our contract is for England only. The Traineeship scheme is available in Wales and Scotland but you may need to contact a local training provider.

How is the work preparation, classroom training, delivered?

SPS Training uses a combination of Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams. Google creates a virtual classroom environment, led by an experienced, dedicated tutor who can host live virtual sessions and then sets work for the trainees to complete themselves. The Tutor supports throughout the day, offering further support and stretch and challenge targets as appropriate. We have a high achievement rate with this method.

Do new starters must complete some induction training prior to commencement on the work placement?

Our induction support will ensure that they are fully aware of what to expect in the workplace and also receive an in depth Safeguarding and PREVENT training session, including the process for making safeguarding referrals. The safeguarding is a priority for all age groups with additional support made available for 16-18 year olds.

Dependent on the delivery model adopted, young people may be required to attend classroom prior to the start of their work placement.

Can you tailor recruitment to a 24-hour business?

If we were working with a 16-18 age group, the answer would probably be no for safeguarding reasons.

There is nothing in the ESFA’s guidance that prevents trainees taking part in shift, evening or weekend work that includes unsociable hours and for many industries that is the norm, so it represents good experience of the working patterns required. Ultimately, we will assess the suitability of the work pattern, and the trainee on a case-by-case basis.

Should the candidates work a normal working day/hour or could they do shift work?

For 16-18 aged Trainees, we would require that all work placements take place between the hours of 7am and 8pm. This is for safeguarding reasons.

For the older 19-24 age group, we would expect a level of flexibility on behalf of both parties. If shift, evening, or weekend work was a key part of working in a particular industry, then we would allow for the work placement and subsequent vacancies to reflect this.

Is there a minimum number of Trainees employers need to commit to?

Currently, there are no minimum numbers required for a Traineeship programme. Although there is no minimum numbers we would expect a minimum number of 5-10 placements per employer site to make this an effective delivery model.

We are a multi-site business, does the model work for this structure and does it work if the trainees are based at different departments, locations or businesses, depending on the recruitment needs?

The benefits of remote, virtual classroom and supported self-study model is that if you have sites spread across England, we can accommodate the work preparation delivery as long as there is a local site where trainees can undertake their work experience placement.

If employers don’t have live vacancies, can they still offer Traineeship work experience placements?

There is no requirement that the employer has vacancies at the end of the placement. There is still great value in a placement for a young person. It can help build confidence, add value to a CV, they will have support for English, maths and digital skills through our work preparation training. On completion of the placement, if there are no appropriate vacancies, Trainees can move on to other employment opportunities with other employers or to further study.

Having said all of the above, we will be working closely with the young person to convince you to hire them.

What is a typical Trainee’s pre-start journey?

Before a programme begins, SPS Training will advertise the opportunity via our normal channels and screen for suitable candidate applications.

Successful candidates will then be on boarded by the SPS Training engagement team this is a 2-3 week process.

The learners then start in their classroom or virtual classroom training, every day for four weeks. This includes pockets of online, tutor-led delivery and further self-study.

The Trainees then undertake a 70 work placement, which we have planned to deliver over a 3 week period with Trainees working up to 25 hours a week.

This is a base-line model. If employers require Trainees to work longer hours as part of a normal shift pattern, or every other day or three to four days a week, then we can accommodate.

The work placement will need to be a minimum of 3 weeks in duration and up to 12 months.

Does the 70 hours work placement have to take place over set weeks?

The minimum duration is 3 weeks. The placement model over 3 weeks is an illustration and can be tailored to the suit the needs of the employer and trainee.

During the 1st 4 weeks of work preparation, would the Trainee join learners from other cohorts?

This depends on the size or scale of placements offered by an employer. If an employer offers 10 placements, then this would form a natural, single cohort of learners. If employers offer 1 or 2 placements, then typically, SPS would integrate them with other learners. We want to offer a quality experience throughout the Traineeship and peer-to-peer learning is extremely valuable, and motivating. But, regardless of the cohort formation, each Trainee is prepared for their individual, local placement.

Can employers offer work placements for longer than 70 hours, for example up to three months?

Yes, if an employer wants to offer a longer work experience placement this is possible and extremely valuable to a young person. If work placements are part of a longer recruitment process, preparation for specific roles or even project based and so require longer in the workplace this can be significant for the Trainees, so we will try and support this where possible. The maximum number of placement hours for a young person on Universal Credit is 240 hours, which can support a placement of 20 hours per week for 12 weeks. 

How will you source candidates, and can employers screen candidates before making a commitment?

Like any job, the hook for young people is the chance to work with an employer. We will advertise these placements like we do any other vacancy or course. We can use our web site and social media channels, as well as national and local jobs boards and the Find an Apprenticeship portal. We also have referral partners in the DWP and JCP across the country. If employers want to assist, because they understand their local talent pool then we will work with then to offer opportunities locally.
If employers are using Traineeships as a route to securing candidates for a live vacancy then there is great value in them being part of the screening process.

Are there rules about ‘off the job learning’ during the Traineeship?

Traineeships should be viewed as a course, a qualification, with a placement attached. So where an apprenticeship is 80% on the job and 20% off the job, this is a different model. There is no “off the job” training during a Traineeship placement. We have designed an 8-week model that means the off the job classroom delivery can happen prior to a work placement or we can offer a blended or modular delivery so work preparation and training can be combined throughout the Traineeship programme.

Will coming on a Traineeship affect a Trainee’s benefits?

If the young person is on benefits (and many aren’t, because they avoid JCP conditionality), then they are likely to be on Universal Credit. This will be unaffected by an unpaid Traineeship or where they receive travel and subsistence. If they get paid by the employer (which is not mandatory), then their Universal Credit will reduce, but they will retain a decent amount. Universal Credit is set up so that it pays to work, for example, it ensures that earnings from zero hour’s contracts are still worth pursuing.

What paperwork does an employer need to complete to host a trainee?

The admin required is comparatively light.

SPS will conduct some due diligence, including seeking approval from the Employer Data Records Service (EDRS) to conform your organisational needs to provide a Traineeship, to ensure the employer has the relevant insurance in place, and then create a short agreement (couple of pages), which will outline; what the learner will be doing, who the point of contact is, confirmation that the learner has attended each week and that at the end of the programme there will be an exit review. We will have a document to outline requirements in more detail very soon.

Employers or staff contacts will also participate and contribute in monthly progress reviews and commit to offering either an interview for a suitable live vacancy or an exit review with meaningful and objective feedback to provide assistance to the trainee in securing future roles.