Regulations on traineeships outside formal education (September 2023)
Upholding the rights of young trainees
Traineeships are short-time work experiences that provide young people with professional skills and competences. The on-the-job practice boosts their personal capacities (like planning, problem-solving, interpersonal skills…) and reinforces their employability. Traineeships have become a frequent way to fill in long bouts of unemployment, especially during economic downturns.
Several European initiatives support quality traineeships, first and foremost through the EU Youth Guarantee. The scheme stipulates that young people receive a quality offer for an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. To uphold the quality of traineeships, several requirements have been identified in the Quality Framework for Traineeships (QFT). Among these requirements are clear working hours and length of the traineeship, provision of social security contributions and insurance against occupational accidents, and well-defined training goals.
Traineeships generally fall in one of three groups. They can be organised in the framework of formal education, as compulsory or optional part of study curricula. They can be offered by active labour market programmes (ALMP), delivered by employment services and targeting young job seekers. Alternatively, they can be agreed directly between a young person and a profit or no-profit organization (“open market traineeships”). In this case, the conditions are negotiated between the trainee and the trainer.
While traineeships in formal education are always regulated, this is not always the case for those taking place under ALMP and, even less so, open market ones. The absence of a regulatory framework exposes trainees to risks like long working hours, tasks not related to their learning objectives and lack of health and accidents insurance.
The map indicates that regulations for traineeships outside of formal education exist in about half of the countries. In the majority, all traineeships are regulated, irrespective of their type. In a few countries, regulations apply only to traineeships organised under ALMP.