Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


Traineeships are understood as a limited period of work practice, whether paid or not, which includes a learning and/or a training component. Traineeships are a common way for young people to gain necessary work experience before entering regular jobs. They help young people gain practical and professional experience, improve employability and facilitate transition into regular employment.

2013 Eurobarometer survey on traineeships showed that almost every other young person had at least one traineeship experience. No fewer than 7 out of 10 former trainees found that their traineeship experience was useful in finding a regular job.

Additionally, traineeships 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 may not contain any learning elements, may be associated with poor working conditions, or trainees may not be covered by social security or receive remuneration. The Commission has recently commissioned a study providing an overview of remuneration practices for so-called ‘open-market traineeships’ in the EU Member States.

In 2017, Eurofound published a report on cases that might constitute abuse of the traineeship status.

Quality Framework for Traineeships

As an EU response to quality concerns, the Council adopted the Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships (QFT) in March 2014, based on a Commission proposal.

For traineeships outside formal education, the QFT recommends 21 principles that provide guidelines on how to ensure 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.

The Commission is currently evaluating to what extent the objectives of the QFT have been reached. It examines whether the framework still meets the needs of trainees and employers, or whether it lacks elements that could increase the quality of traineeships. As part of the evaluation, the Commission will consult various stakeholders, including through two stakeholder surveys. One of the surveys is targeted at trainees (including former and potential future trainees), while the other one is a wider public consultation and open to everybody. The evaluation will be finalised by the end of 2022.

Information on the implementation of the Quality Framework is available in

Traineeships under the Youth Guarantee

Traineeships are widely used as part of the reinforced Youth Guarantee, which provides 15 to 29 year-olds with an offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving education. Traineeships offers under the Youth Guarantee should use the QFT as a reference.

Based on experience from the first 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, supporting them to acquire essential skills for the labour market. The report also looks at different measures that contribute to the quality of traineeships and prevent their misuse.

Are you looking for a traineeship?

In Europe

  • 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.
  • Erasmus+ supports traineeships abroad for students currently enrolled in higher education institutions. These opportunities are also open to recent graduates.
  • Digital Opportunity Traineeships are offered under Erasmus+. This programme gives students and young graduates the possibility to learn digital skills on the job and to experience the tech sector. The scheme started in 2018 as a pilot financed by Horizon 2020. In two years, the project has proven to be highly successful, supporting almost 17.000 traineeships taking place in 34 countries. The Digital Education Action Plan, launched in 2021, aims to extend the initiative also to higher education and VET students as well as to teaching staff.

 At the Commission

At international organisations

  • The European Youth Portal gives you more information of traineeships available at other EU institutions and international organisations. 

Country sheets

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