Apprenticeships or Traineeships: Which is Right for my Business?

Apprenticeships and traineeships are two ways employers can benefit from young talent and new employees who are enthusiastic, focused and interested in learning more about their business. Both are government schemes which give people in England the skills, knowledge, and work experience to actively contribute to the economy and find their place in the world of work.

Both schemes are usually suggested to people who want to find an alternative route after finishing school, with no plans to continue in traditional education. As an employer there are benefits to both schemes, but you may find one is a better fit for your organisation than the other.


Traineeships are specifically designed for people aged 16-24 not in employment. They provide the trainee with numeracy and literacy skills as well as work experience, preparation and on-the-job training. Trainees often then move onto an apprenticeship or may directly find work. They help boost the basic employability skills of the trainee and help them make a considered decision when it comes to the next stage of their working life. Traineeships do not usually last longer than six months and are sometimes offered to people who didn’t quite make the grade for an apprenticeship.

Traineeships are a great way of supporting your local community and helping youth unemployed people into work. What’s more, if you have employees who have the potential to move into leadership or management, mentoring and supporting a trainee could be the next step in boosting their career too.

Choosing to hire a trainee for your firm comes with additional financial benefits for your business. Governments offer a grant of £1000 per trainee up to maximum of 10. There is even more scope for additional incentives of up to £4000 if you offer permanent employment or a viable apprenticeship after the traineeship ends. It is also important to consider the impact on your local community and economy hiring trainees can have, as you make a positive impact on reducing youth unemployment in your area.


While apprenticeships have often been marketed at school leavers, they are actually a viable option for employees of all ages, including those you already employ who want to expand their skillset.

Apprenticeships involve real work experience in a role alongside the learning programme and the programmes last a minimum of twelve months. Apprentices will do 30 hours a week of employment as well as classroom-based learning which help to develop their transferable skills in English, Maths and ICT where necessary. Core elements of the apprenticeship will also take place in the classroom, where theory modules will run alongside on-the-job-training.

Apprenticeships have become more popular employers because of the significant financial incentives the government now offers but there are also palpable business benefits. Research into apprenticeships has found 86% of employers said apprenticeships have helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation and a further 74% said apprenticeships allowed and helped them t improve the quality of their product or service.

Anything which improves your business and supporting the local economy is something all companies should consider, and apprenticeships are a highly flexible way of improving your workforce and pushing both new and existing employees to learn relevant and valuable skills for themselves and for the business.

Your business can benefit from both these government schemes. You may find you initially hire trainees but develop an apprenticeship programme to include them on the completion of their traineeship or already have a programme you’d be open to welcoming them into. While financial incentives may be key to your decision, it’s worth remembering the valuable contribution you’re making to your local community and economy too.

Find out more about Traineeships and Apprenticeships