Traineeships are a common way for young people to gain necessary work experience before entering regular jobs. A Eurobarometer survey on traineeships from 2013 showed that almost every second young person had at least one traineeship experience. 7 out of 10 ex-trainees found that their traineeship experience was useful in finding a regular job.
Traineeships are understood as a limited period of work practice, whether paid or not, which includes a learning and/or a training component. Traineeships help young people gain practical and professional experience, improve employability and facilitate transition into regular employment.
Additionally, traineeships also benefit employers by giving them access to a pool of talented young people, instead of going through a complex recruiting process. Traineeships can also help to give employers a positive image on the labour market.
However, a range of stakeholders are voicing concerns about the quality of traineeships. Some traineeships do not contain any learning elements, have poor working conditions, and trainees may be excluded from social security coverage. In addition, Eurofound has taken a look at cases which might constitute abuse of traineeship status.
Quality Framework for Traineeships
As a European response to quality concerns, the Council adopted the final Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships (QFT) in March 2014, based on the Commission's proposal.
The Quality Framework for Traineeships recommends 22 quality elements for traineeships outside formal education which can be incorporated in national legislation or social partner agreements. Together, these elements provide guidelines on how to provide high quality learning content and fair working conditions so that traineeships support education-to-work transitions and increase the employability of trainees.
The QFT also highlights the importance of transparency regarding compensation and social security coverage, as well as hiring chances. These aspects should be clear to applicants already at the stage of the application for a traineeship position.
Information on the implementation of the Quality Framework is available in
- the Communication 'Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative – three years on'
- the Staff Working Document on Applying the Quality Framework for Traineeships
- country sheets providing more detailed information on the implementation of the QFT in Member States
- the conclusions from the 2017 ‘Quality traineeships in the EU’ conference
Traineeships under the Youth Guarantee
Traineeships are widely used as part of the Youth Guarantee. The Quality Framework for Traineeships is a reference to be used for traineeships also in this context.
Based on experience from the first five years of Youth Guarantee implementation, the report Traineeships under the Youth Guarantee – Experience from the ground looks at how traineeships can be successful learning experiences for young people, in supporting them to acquire essential skills for the labour market. It also takes a look at different measures that contribute to the quality of traineeships and prevent their misuse.
Are you looking for a traineeship?
- The EURES portal lists traineeships for young people in EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland. You can also find other information on traineeships abroad, such as rules and regulations and how to move to another country.
- The European Solidarity Corps offers young people the opportunity to be engaged in solidarity activities in the form of volunteering activities, jobs or traineeships.
- Erasmus+ supports traineeships abroad for students currently enrolled in higher education institutions. These opportunities are also open to recent graduates.
- The Digital Opportunity Traineeship initiative provides cross-border traineeships for up to 6,000 students in 2018-2020. Trainees can strengthen their digital skills in fields like digital marketing, cybersecurity, machine learning and software development.
At the Commission
If you are interested in becoming a trainee in the European Commission, visit the dedicated webpage on Traineeships in the European Commission for more details.