What is the difference between a traineeship, an apprenticeship and an internship?

Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed a bonus incentive package set to triple the number of traineeships in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. A scheme to encourage UK employers to help young, inexperienced people get back to work.

We’ve had a number of enquiries about this at DigitalGrads asking whether taking an intern from us would qualify for the bonus. The short answer is unfortunately no. All of our candidates are educated to degree level (Level 6 or above) which is 3 levels higher than a qualifying candidate and they also often have a fair amount of work experience.

The Chancellor’s traineeship scheme is designed to help young people who are unemployed, educated below A-level level and who have little or no work experience.

What is a Traineeship?

A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets young people ready for work or for an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months and is a common gateway to an apprenticeship.

To qualify candidates must be:

  • eligible to work in England,
  • currently unemployed,
  • have little or no work experience,
  • aged 16 to 24,
  • qualified below Level 3

It’s unpaid as the candidate is volunteering their time to learn new skills and it is considered that the employer is training them in those new skills.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job. Apprentices can be new or current employees and should meet these criteria:

  • are aged 16 or over,
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage and allow the apprentice time to study during their working week, for example a day a week. You must ensure they are working with experienced staff who are teaching them job specific skills relevant to their apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships have different levels to explain their equivalent level in education:

Graduates can take apprenticeships in subjects that are different to their degree. So for example if a person with a degree in marketing wanted to change career to become a software developer, they could apply for an apprenticeship in development, but they could not apply for an apprenticeship in marketing because their education level in that subject is already superior.

At DigitalGrads we partner with Apprenticeship training providers to help them find career changer grads and also to help them connect with our clients who are looking for an Apprenticeship.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a paid fixed-term employment opportunity for a young person who has some relevant skills to offer the employer, is usually educated to degree level, but hasn’t yet had their first relevant full-time role.

It’s a great way for employers to try out a candidate before they commit to employing them permanently. It’s also a good way to give a young person a chance to prove themselves.

Crucially, internships are not education or training, they are fixed-term employment opportunities where the employee is expected to fulfil real work for the employer, and so should be renumerated as such.

We often get asked what salary should you pay a graduate and the answer is always the minimum should be the National Minimum Wage, and then we encourage you to think about whether the person can afford to live on that wage. At DigitalGrads we advocate paying the Real Living Wage if you can afford it, and especially when the position moves from an internship to a permanent role.

Hopefully this article has shed some light on the differences between traineeships, apprenticeships and internships and the employers obligations in each situation.

If you are looking for an intern, educated to degree level who can make a difference in your business today – search here >

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