Traineeships: Courses, Unpaid Workfare Work Placements, Wages and Expenses

DWP discloses Traineeships guidance (19/3/15):
Updated 03/3/15 (all online resources accessed 3/3/15). This update is provisional and further notes and resources will be added over the next week or so.


1. JSA Sanctions
1.1  Work experience placements
2. Factsheet: Wages, Travel Expenses, Meals

2.1 National Minimum Wage
2.2 Additional sources of funding support
3. Useful resources
4. Related

1. JSA Sanctions

34858 “Participation in the traineeship is voluntary, but once the claimant has agreed to take part, they are then mandated to attend the training elements. However, a claimant cannot be mandated to take part in the work experience element of Traineeships. The only reason a claimant could be sanctioned for a failure to take part in the work experience element of the Traineeship is if the claimant lost the place due to gross misconduct (see DMG 34921)”
Source: Decision Maker Guidance – Chapter 34 – JSA Sanctions (accessed 3/3/15) emphasis added.

Note: JSA Benefit Sanctions only apply to the “training elements” once a young person has agreed to ‘volunteer’ to do a Traineeship. This would suggest that if someone wanted to end the “training elements”, they could end their JSA claim for a day, make a rapid reclaim and that would suggest restarting a Traineeship’s “training elements” again would have to be voluntary. Anyone thinking of doing this would be advised to seek independent face to face welfare rights advice and guidance, to ensure they understand all the implications, on likes of Housing and Council Tax benefits and loss of benefits whilst waiting for a new claim to be accepted.

1.1  Work experience placements

“…a claimant cannot be mandated to take part in the work experience element of Traineeships(pdf)

“58. Our expectation is that work placements will last between 100 – 240 hours….

59. For benefit claimants from 2014/15 the work experience element can be up to 240 hours (or extended if the offer of an Apprenticeship place is accepted)
at a maximum of 30 hours a week, and can be done over the duration of the
Traineeship if necessary. This replaces the previous rule which restricted the work experience to 6 – 8 consecutive weeks.” [original emphasis)
Source: Traineeships: Framework for delivery 2014 to 2015

2. Factsheet: Wages, Travel Expenses, Meals

The National Apprentice Service has created a factsheet, saying Traineeships are for young people:

Working “less than 16 hours per week and have little work experience”

it also says:

“Employers are not required to pay you [wages] for taking part in a traineeship but may support you with expenses such as transport and meals.”

The fact sheet has an explanatory footnote:

All young people undertaking a traineeship will be required to study English and maths, unless they have achieved a GCSE A* – C in those subjects or, for those aged 19 – 24, a GCSE A* – C in those subjects or a functional skills qualification at Level 2. A full level 2 qualification is equivalent to 5 GCSEs at Grades A* – C and a full level 3 qualification is equivalent to 2 or more ‘A’ level passes. Eligible learners are those who are age 16 to 24 as of 31 August in the funding year and not had their 25th birthday at the start of the traineeship programme. For the purpose s of traineeships, ‘employed’ is defined as an individual who has a contract of employment. However, the individual is not classified as employed if they work fewer than 16 hours a week. Traineeships are designed for people who have had little exposure to the workplace. If you have significant paid or unpaid work experience then a traineeship might not be right for you. If you are unsure you can contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 (dated 1/1/15)

2.1 National Minimum Wage

Traineeships are exempt from the National Minimum Wage, under The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2014

2.2 Additional sources of funding support

Besides entitlement to benefits, young people on Traineeships may be able to access financial support through the 16 – 19 Bursary Fund ( or the 19+ Discretionary Learner support (

For people claiming benefits DWP/Jobcentres can also consider offering support for Travel, Childcare and Replacement Care costs out of it’s existing Flexible Support Fund (FSF). dated 6/1/15

3. Useful resources

Traineeships programme
– Traineeships: supporting information
– Traineeship referral sheet: providers
– Traineeships referral sheet: employers
– Traineeships: are they for me?
– Traineeships referral sheet: advisers and intermediaries

List of eligible providers for the traineeship programme
– Traineeships: framework for delivery
– Funding Rules
– 16 to 19 study programmes: work experience

4. Related

New regulations for mandatory JSA youth (18-21)  workfare, training, maths and English skills

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You may find more recent information via or by using the website search facility (top right). Before acting upon any information on you may need to seek independent welfare rights advice on a face to face basis.

Sources of advice