How to host a trainee?

Find out how to host an Erasmus+ trainee with these frequently asked questions.

What is the typical profile of an Erasmus+ trainee?

Trainees range from apprentices to doctoral level students.

VET students are in vocational training at upper secondary level, including apprentices. They work in all sectors: catering and hotel management, hairdressing, carpentry, mechatronics, healthcare, forestry, environmental sciences, engineering, accounting, law, teaching and training, culture sector and fashion amongst many others.

Higher education students are usually enrolled in tertiary education including short-term higher vocational education. They can be studying at bachelor, master or doctoral level, and come from a wide range of study areas. These trainees work in enterprises, training centres, research centres or other organisations (hospitals, public services, etc.) and around 80% are hosted by small and medium sized companies. Placements are currently particularly popular for students of social sciences, business, law, engineering, manufacturing and construction, humanities and arts.

What is the duration of a traineeship?

An Erasmus+ traineeship can be from 2 to 12 months for higher education students, and 2 weeks to 12 months for VET learners.

Which organisations can host a European trainee?

Any public or private sector organisation active in the labour market or in the fields of education, training and youth can host an Erasmus+ trainee, as long as they are established in a Programme Country (28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey). This can include public or private companies, public bodies at local, regional or national level, foundations, research institutes, non-governmental organisation, non-profit organisations and social partners.

Higher education students can also be hosted by any higher education institution awarded with an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE), while VET learners can be hosted by any public or private organisation active in the field of vocational education and training (defined as a VET organisation).

What can a receiving organisation expect from the European trainee?

As European trainees range from apprentices to doctoral level students, they can accomplish a very large range of tasks depending on their education and experience. The receiving organisation should define the expected work tasks and profile of the trainee, including the language requirements, bearing in mind that a traineeship is a learning experience. The trainee is not a replacement for a regular employee.

For each traineeship, the tasks to be carried out by the student as well as the expected knowledge, skills and competences to be gained are agreed in advance by all the parties involved (home institution, receiving organisation, student) and are formalised in the ‘Learning Agreement’.

Can an organisation specify a preference as regards the education and training institution and/or country of the trainee?

This is possible and it can be an excellent way to establish sustainable cooperation between the sending and the receiving organisations. It might be also a first step to other forms of longer-term cooperation.

Will the trainee speak the language used in the receiving organisation or country?

The level of language skills required is discussed by the organisation and the trainee's sending institution. In some cases, the trainee will know the language normally used in the receiving organisation, in others it is likely that English or another widely spoken language will be used.

Linguistic support is also available for Erasmus+ trainees on long-term mobility projects. This support will be mainly offered online and will include voluntary language courses as well as mandatory assessments of language skills both before and after the traineeship period. These assessments are simply to monitor participant’s language skills and the results will have no effect on the trainee’s ability to take part.

What can the trainee expect from the receiving organisation?

The learning arrangements

The receiving organisation and the sending institution agree a training plan with the trainee. This is then formalised in a ‘Learning Agreement’ which clearly sets out the tasks to be carried out by the student as well as the expected knowledge, skills and competences to be gained and the recognition to be awarded on completion by his/her sending institution. The learning agreement should also clearly describe the methodology for evaluation of student achievement. The sending institution ensures the monitoring of the training activities.

The receiving organisation should also:

  • Provide support and information on life and experience relative to the organisation via a good tutor or mentor
  • Provide a reference for the trainee if they are satisfied

All parties commit themselves to respect standard quality commitments and the student reports on his/her mobility experiences while the receiving organisation provides a short feedback report.

For higher education students, after the mobility, the receiving organisation should always issue a certification attesting the traineeship activities (duration, traineeship tasks and knowledge, skills and competences developed).

The legal and administrative arrangements

As a general rule, trainees from other European countries should be treated no less favourably than national trainees. Agreements should set out the legal and administrative arrangements (working hours, insurance, financial contribution etc.) which can vary from one country to another and according to the type of students.

Should receiving organisations offer a contribution or a salary?

Legal obligations vary significantly from one country to another and receiving organisations should follow their national rules. Erasmus+ trainees are provided with a grant to contribute to their living expenses while abroad, so receiving organisations do not have an obligation to pay a salary. However, in most cases this grant will not cover all costs so receiving organisations are encouraged to reward trainees (either in kind or with a financial support) wherever possible.

What about insurance for the trainee?

Each organisation hosting an Erasmus+ trainee must have effective procedures and arrangements in place to promote and guarantee the safety and protection of their trainee. It is up to receiving organisation to seek the most suitable insurance policy according to the type of project carried out and the insurance formats available at national level.

The following must be covered:

  • Where relevant, travel insurance (including damage or loss of luggage)
  • Third party liability (including, where appropriate, professional indemnity or insurance for responsibility)
  • Accident and serious illness (including permanent or temporary incapacity)
  • Death (including repatriation in case of projects carried out abroad)
  • If applicable, it is strongly recommended that trainees are in possession of a European Health Insurance Card. This is a free card that gives access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.
  • Finally, if traineeships involve young people under 18, participating organisations are required to obtain the prior authorisation of participation from their parents or those acting on their behalf.

Does the receiving organisation have to organise accommodation or transport for the trainee?

There is no obligation to do so, although some receiving organisations choose to help trainees find suitable accommodation and contribute to transport costs.

How do receiving organisations and trainees get together?

Organisations can be supported by intermediaries. Consult the Next section to find intermediary bodies that can assist your organisation with making connections with universities and training institutions abroad. Chambers, regional associations, economic federations and other networks typically have contacts in other countries which can be used to link up with a training provider or university whose students would like to undertake a placement abroad.

Many training providers and universities already cooperate with organisations abroad. Some use the European networks of their local chambers, federations, regional development agencies etc. to make these contacts. Some higher education students find their placements themselves by contacting organisations directly. In all cases, the student's home institution will check the proposed placement is suitable.
In higher education, more and more traineeships are organised by national consortia of Higher Education Institutions and businesses. These consortia help match students and employers and monitor their progress.

What is the receiving institution's involvement in the selection process?

The selection of individual trainees is made together with the trainee's home institution (eg. university or vocational training provider).