With high levels of youth unemployment in the European Union, helping young people find work is a pressing problem. By providing opportunities in a real work situation to acquire valuable skills and learn appropriate behaviour, traineeships can help young people make the transition from education or unemployment to permanent work.
In addition to acquiring skills and increasing their employability, trainees can benefit by orientating their career and building networks of contacts. Employers offering traineeships can identify potential new recruits and build their corporate reputation as a quality employer.
However traineeships often suffer from poor quality. Trainees may be assigned unsuitable tasks or receive poor mentoring and training. They may lack remuneration and social protection, or become trapped in precarious work through repeated traineeships.
Traineeships will play an important part in the Youth Guarantee and other EU initiatives to foster youth employment. A proposed Council Recommendation on a European Quality Framework, which focuses on ‘open-market’ traineeships, aims to increase transparency in terms of what will be learnt and working conditions, as well as encouraging transnational mobility.