A skills development programme for 16 to 24-year olds. It includes an unpaid work placement and is designed to help you get ready for an apprenticeship.

get the jump

From 1 August 2023, the government will no longer fund a standalone national traineeships programme. Traineeships can continue to be offered by providers locally.

Read the written ministerial statement on the skills update from Robert Halfon, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education.

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I've always wanted to work on the railway so this was a great opportunity to get onto it. I've tried to go on to different courses like construction, plumbing and plastering but the track maintenance was probably the best bet in terms of the long run.

After I finish programme I'd hope to get straight into work and just work my way up. The traineeship has helped me by teaching me a lot about how the railway system works and how to use all tools and different avenues I can take.

I wanted to do the traineeship because I've had a long interest in the railways and I saw this as an opportunity to put my foot in the door for the railway industry.

Before this I was in college. I was doing BTEC level 3 mechanical engineering and then after that I was trying to look for just general apprenticeships. Most jobs I've looked for say we require experience. Where do I get that physical experience then? You see the occupational traineeship and you think, right I need to do this course. I'll get this amount of training, this amount of experience, I'll get whatever qualifications I need to do. Now I'm ready for the ideal job that I want to get into.

After we finish we should be working as just general trackmen but from there this course opens up the doors to several progression routes. Even though we're at the bottom right now, we can start climbing the ladder, becoming higher and higher and higher in our company or in other companies.

Tyriel's experience

“The traineeship has helped me by just teaching me a lot about how the railway system works and how to use all the tools, and different avenues I can take.”

Starting a traineeship

To start a traineeship, you'll need to:

  • be eligible to work in England
  • have little or no work experience and be unemployed
  • be aged 16 to 24, or 25 with an education, health and care (EHC) plan

Traineeships can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most last for less than 6 months.

What you'll get as a trainee

Traineeships can be created to meet your needs and prepare you for what employers are looking for.

As a trainee, you'll get:

  • training to prepare you for work, including CV writing and what to expect in the workplace
  • support to improve your English, maths and digital skills
  • a high-quality work placement of at least 70 hours

You will not be paid for the work placement but employers may be able to support you with expenses for things like travel and meals. You should still continue to get any benefits you currently receive.

After your traineeship

Traineeships are designed to prepare you to do an apprenticeship.

You could also:

  • apply for a permanent job with your employer if one is available
  • get a job with a different employer
  • go on to further study, such as getting a degree
  • volunteer to help build your skills and experience

Finding traineeships

You can use the GOV.UK service to search and apply for traineeships in England.

Find a traineeship

Explore your choices

Combine work and study

T Levels


A levels
Higher education
Higher technical qualifications (HTQs)
Vocational technical qualifications (VTQs)


Supported internships
School leaver schemes

Special educational needs (SEND) advice

You can get education advice if you're disabled or have special educational needs. 

It may help you choose what you'd like to do next.

Information for other countries: