How to: Find traineeships

Never heard of traineeships? You might be missing out.

Taking on a traineeship can be a great stepping stone into your career, helping you build some valuable experience in an industry before you take on a permanent position. Not sure how to get started?

Here’s our guide on how to find traineeships – and how joining one could change your career:


What is a traineeship?

A traineeship is a training programme which comes with work experience.

They help you prepare for taking on full-time work and apprenticeships, as well as supporting you with essential English and maths skills.

You’ll also learn some of the soft skills that are needed in the workplace, including communication and teamwork.


How long do traineeships last?

Traineeships can last for up to six months.

The exact length will vary, however, depending on what your role is and what company you’re looking to work for.


Who are they for?

Traineeships are designed for 16-24 year olds, who are qualified below Level 3. You’ll need to be motivated to work, but have little or no work experience.


Will I be paid?

Traineeships are unpaid, although you may qualify for the 16-19 Bursary Fund. The Government also encourages employers to help meet travel and meal costs.

Once you have completed your traineeship, you’ll be ready to move on to an apprenticeship or paid employment.


What is the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship?

Traineeships and apprenticeships combine work and training, but vary in several ways.

Traineeships are much shorter, generally unpaid, and accessible to young people who need to improve their English and Maths skills.

Apprenticeships last between 1 and 4 years, are paid a minimum wage, and require GCSEs in English and Maths or equivalent.


What kind of traineeships are available?

The content of your traineeship is tailored to your individual career needs.

You can find traineeships in all the areas you would expect, but there are some more unusual career paths out there too, such as brewery assistant or beekeeper. There are also opportunities to get into a career that you might think requires higher education, such as accountancy and law.


What are the benefits of a traineeship?

Taking a traineeship will benefit you in lots of different ways.

  • You’ll gain valuable work experience and build your CV
  • You’ll learn about a business and the industry it works in
  • You’ll be more competitive when applying for apprenticeships or jobs
  • If you need it, you’ll be supported with Maths and English to boost your career prospects
  • You’ll be ‘work ready’ and able to kick start your career


How can I apply for a traineeship?

Finding a traineeship

Traineeships are advertised on the Government’s dedicated website.

Unlike apprenticeships, traineeships are created by employers. This gives them a lot of flexibility. Can’t find your perfect traineeship listed? Think about what you’re really passionate about, and approach the organisations you’d like to work for directly.



Whether you’re responding to an advert or approaching a company cold, explain why you have chosen that organisation, and what you can offer them. This could be more effective than focusing on what they can do for you.

Try to find out who you are writing to, and avoid using the dreaded ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Check out the company’s website and social media feeds and show that you know a bit about them.



For a traineeship, employers won’t expect you to have much experience.

When writing your CV, think about what the job will involve. Highlight your relevant skills and experience. For example, problem solving, times when you have worked independently and in a team, and attention to detail, will always be attractive to employers.

From a formatting point of view, your CV should always be clear, concise and well presented. To find out more, follow our advice on how to write a CV or download our free CV template.


What happens when the traineeship ends?

If a job is available in the company you’ve been working for, you’ll usually be guaranteed an interview.

Even if there is no job available, you’ll be given an exit interview. This is a great chance to discuss what you’ve learned and gain feedback. You’ll also have a reference to put on your CV.

Once you’ve completed your traineeship, you can then apply for an apprenticeship or start looking for work. And with the skills and experience from your traineeship adding value to your CV, you’ll be able to really start standing out from the crowd.

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