Traineeship or Apprenticeship?

So you’ve heard about apprenticeships and traineeships but you’re not sure what they are or what the difference is and whether they are right for you. We asked Debbie Gardiner, who is the CEO at Qube Learning to explain:

Well first things first, if you’re aged between 16 and 24 and you want to start work but are at a loss how to do that you are eligible for a traineeship.

If you’re over 16 and you know what you want to do but you lack the skills, the knowledge, the experience, then you tick the boxes for an apprenticeship.

Now you know what they are, what’s the difference?

Well an apprenticeship can be the first step towards almost any type of career.

Some of the sectors apprenticeships cover include: Digital and technology, clinical care and nursing, warehousing and transport, retail and customer service, financial management and accountancy, building and all associated ‘trades’, administration and HR and catering and hospitality.

Apprenticeships start at level 2 (GCSE equivalent) rising to a level 7 (master’s degree equivalent) with the stages in between catering for different levels of experience:

Level 2, for instance would be a first line job; there are often large volumes of people working at this level in any organisation. Level 3 (A-level equivalent) is for more senior people, team leaders, people with a lot of experience and those in a job with higher technical skills.

Level 4 meanwhile is the first of two levels known as Higher Apprenticeships, for junior and middle managers. Level 5 is the second of the Higher Apprenticeships and is suitable for more experienced and higher-level managers, such as senior and executive managers.

Finally Levels 6 and 7 are Degree Level Apprenticeships, suitable for business leaders and managers working at a high level.

But something all apprenticeships have in common... English and maths!

And remember, an apprenticeship is a real job which lasts for the duration of the apprenticeship - and very often afterwards.

An apprenticeship is recognised by bosses as a mark of high quality and consistent training - and it helps you get work. It’s also a very good stepping-stone to progress to the next level either with another apprenticeship at a higher level or other training programmes

Perhaps best of all you get paid while an apprentice – at all levels. If you want to progress to degree level you can, while in work, earning a wage and without the worry of being in debt to university fees and loans.

A traineeship meanwhile gives you the chance to be supported by an employer and a training provider, helping build confidence and working out what’s right for you. Importantly if the first job placement proves to be in the wrong sector for you a further traineeship in a different one can be arranged. It’s all about helping you find out what you want to do.

A traineeship can be anything from six weeks to six months.

The minimum time for an apprenticeship is 372 days, so just over a year - quite common for level 2s and some level 3s.

Finally when you’re applying for an apprenticeship or traineeship, it’s important to have an up to date CV (see 10 steps to writing your first CV) and one that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

And it helps if you are reactive to any emails or calls companies make. If you don’t respond – they will stop calling! If you get a phone interview, make sure you’re in a quiet area and confirm attendance to face-to-face interviews if asked.

For more information on apprenticeships and traineeships visit: