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Alternatives to apprenticeships

If you're not sure if apprenticeships are the right option for your business, there are other alternatives available. This includes traineeships, T Levels, or Skills Bootcamps.


Traineeships are a great option for young people aged between 16 and 24 (or under 25 for individuals with an education and health care plan), who don't have the skills or experience to take on a job or apprenticeship.

Traineeships act as a skills development programme where individuals complete an unpaid work placement alongside a training course.

They can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most last up to 6 months) and are designed to help prepare young people for work.


Offering a work experience placement gives employers the chance to:

  • get to know and work with young people to see if they're right for an apprenticeship or job
  • design a programme that suits the needs of the trainee and their business
  • develop current employees' experience in training and mentoring
  • recruit new talent for their business
  • claim an employer incentive of £1,000 when a work experience placement of over 70 hours has been completed


Traineeships are funded by the government and are free to the employer. Some employers may choose to support their trainees with transport and meals.

Employers who create a new work placement opportunity may be eligible for an incentive payment for £1,000 per learner. They can claim this incentive for up to 10 learners per region. Employers can decide how to use the money. Find out out to hire a trainee.

T Levels

T Levels are aimed at 16-18 year olds as an alternative to A levels. They are two-year courses which offer classroom-based learning alongside an industry placement and are the equivalent to 3 A levels.

T Levels were created in collaboration with businesses so that their content meets industry needs and prepares the student for work, further training or study. Find out more about T Levels.

Skills Bootcamp

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for adults aged 19 or over.

They give people the opportunity to build up valuable sector-specific skills based on local employer demand and provide a direct path to a job on completion.

Skills Bootcamps are primarily aimed at delivering flexible training at levels 3-5 and level 2 in some sectors.

Employers can work with training providers to develop and deliver Skills Bootcamps to help them fill skill shortage vacancies. There is no cost to employers who recruit individuals who have completed a Skills Bootcamp.

Employers contribute to the cost of training if they want to use Skills Bootcamps to train their existing employees. Read more about Skills Bootcamps.

Traineeships: Fact or fiction

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A useful guide for employers which provides clarity on what a traineeship is and the benefits they provide to businesses.


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