Skip to main content

Visit our new resource hub to access useful guides and find out how employers can access incentive payments for hiring an apprentice.

  1. Home
  2. Employers
  3. Are they right for you?
  4. Alternatives to apprenticeships

Alternatives to apprenticeships

If you're not sure if apprenticeships are the right option for your business, there are other alternatives available. This includes traineeships, T Levels or the Kickstart Scheme.


The Kickstart Scheme is aimed at young people aged between 16 and 24 and offers 6-month work placements in new jobs created through government funding.

The scheme is aimed at young people who are:

  • currently claiming Universal Credit
  • at risk of long-term unemployment

Through the scheme, the employee will spend 100% of their time in the workplace completing in-work training. Training delivered through the placement will help develop transferable skills aimed at increasing their chances of sustained employment.

The Kickstart Scheme is a great option if your business is looking to:

  • help young people at risk of long-term unemployment
  • offer 6-month job placements to help young people gain valuable work experience
  • test out whether someone is the right fit for a permanent job or apprenticeship with you
  • gain new ideas and develop your team by providing supervisory experience
  • help a generation of young people affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19


100% of wages are subsidised at National Minimum Wage (or National Living Wage depending on the age of the employee) for up to 25 hours. Employer National Insurance and automatic enrolment contributions are also fully funded.

Funding of £1,500 is also provided to cover the costs of employability training and on-the-job start-up costs - these can include, but are not limited to, uniform, safety equipment, IT equipment and other practical materials.

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

Traineeships are a great option for young people aged between 16 and 24 (or under 25 for individuals with an education and health care plan), who don't have the skills or experience to take on a job or apprenticeship.

Traineeships act as a skills development programme where individuals complete an unpaid work placement alongside a training course.

They can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most last up to 6 months) and are designed to help prepare young people for work.


Offering a work experience placement gives employers the chance to:

  • get to know and work with young people to see if they're right for an apprenticeship or job
  • design a programme that suits the needs of the trainee and their business
  • develop current employees' experience in training and mentoring
  • recruit new talent for their business
  • claim an employer incentive of £1,000 when a work experience placement of over 70 hours has been completed


Traineeships are funded by the government and are free to the employer. Some employers may choose to support their trainees with transport and meals.

Employers who create a new work placement opportunity may be eligible for an incentive payment for £1,000 per learner. They can claim this incentive for up to 10 learners per region. Employers can decide how to use the money.

Hire a trainee

T Levels are aimed at 16-18 year olds as an alternative to A levels. They are two-year courses which offer classroom-based learning alongside an industry placement and are the equivalent to 3 A levels.

T Levels were created in collaboration with businesses so that their content meets industry needs and prepares the student for work, further training or study.

Find out more about T Levels

Traineeships: Fact or fiction

File type
File size

A useful guide for employers which provides clarity on what a traineeship is and the benefits they provide to businesses.


More on apprenticeships

Hiring an apprentice

Hiring an apprentice

Apprenticeships can boost key skills in your business. Find out how to employ an apprentice or use a Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agency.

Learn more about Hiring an apprentice
How to choose the right apprenticeship training

How to choose the right apprenticeship training

You need to consider how much the apprenticeship will cost, whether it's the right one for your organisation and if the training fits with your business needs.

Learn more about How to choose the right apprenticeship training

Recruit an apprentice

Over 8 million searches for apprenticeships on Find an Apprenticeship each month.

Create your advert

Sign up to stay connected

Sign up for emails to keep you informed about apprenticeships

Register interest

Search for an apprenticeship

Search hundreds of apprenticeships and training providers

Find the right apprenticeship (Opens in a new window)