'Traineeship' scheme under fire

Unpaid apprenticeship scheme discussed on Newsnight

Published:  20 September, 2013

GARAGE chain Kwik-Fit has come under fire for its participation in the government's new work experience scheme known as a 'Traineeship'.

The government initiative is designed to give school leavers with poor grades an opportunity to learn a trade and a chance to improve their skills in maths and English in a college day-release.

Unlike a modern apprenticeship, placements in the scheme are unpaid, although the employer receives around £1600 for each participant. The lack of payment was picked up by the BBCs Newsnight with presenter Emily Matlis posing the question: "Is this the new reality of employment, or is it state sanctioned exploitation?"

On the show, Lottie Dexter from campaign group One Million Jobs said: "The sad reality is that too many people are leaving school without the skills that they need to get a real job. We have nearly one million young people who are unemployed. Traineeships bridge the very difficult transition between leaving school and getting a job". Shadow employment minister Toby Perkins countered: "It's sad that [today] you have to work for five months for nothing just to get an interview for an apprenticeship in order to get a proper job!"

Kwik-Fit  told the programme that although the trainee scheme is expected to last for five months it could well end sooner and there will be a guaranteed interview for everyone that reaches the end of the scheme.

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