Government promises 30,000 new traineeships to stave off unemployment
The government is promising to provide 30,000 new traineeships to get young people in England working as fears of mass unemployment continue to grow in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Traineeships tend to last between six weeks and six months and provide classroom-based lessons for pupils aged 16 to 24 in the areas of mathematics, English, and CV writing, along with 90 hours maximum of unpaid work experience.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to fully announce the initiative on Wednesday when he presents his economic recovery plan.
The Treasury said in a statement: "Young people's employment prospects are expected to be disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of coronavirus.
"Expanding traineeships will be part of a wider package to support young people and to ensure they have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment.”
The scheme, which will cost £111 million, will see firms provided with a £1,000 cash bonus for every new work experience place they offer out up to £10,000. Meanwhile, £21 million will go to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to finance similar initiatives.
Speaking to the BBC, David Hughes, the chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: "We know that young people get treated very badly in recessions and will be at the back of the queue for jobs.
"What we want is a whole range of actions that the government can take: put money into colleges to give them a chance, incentivise employers to take on trainees, but also take on apprenticeships as well.
"We need really bold action now on both the labour market and on skills."
The expanded traineeship scheme will begin in England from September this year, with the Treasury indicating that employers must offer “a high-quality work placement of 60 to 90 hours” in order to qualify.
Official figures suggest that three-quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds who complete traineeships move on to employment or further study within 12 months. Yet, the number of people taking up traineeships has been in decline over the last four years according to the Department for Education, peaking at 24,100 people in 2015-16 and dropping to 14,900 in the year 2018.