Evaluation of changes to Traineeships

The Department for Education (DfE) has advised us that you are offering Traineeships this academic year and your organisation has been selected to take part in the evaluation. We have selected providers so that the evaluation can involve providers in all regions, and different types of providers.  

In September 2020 DfE raised eligibility criteria to include those with existing Level 3 qualifications (previously capped at Level 2) and placed an increased focus on digital skills alongside existing Maths and English and sectors that link to Apprenticeships. Further measures of a £1,000 employer incentive, extending the maximum duration of Traineeships and reducing minimum work placement hours from 100 to 70 hours, have been temporarily introduced in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

These changes, intended to widen Traineeship provision and improve trainee destinations, are all subject to evaluation. We would be very grateful for your support with this research to help DfE understand how the changes are working in practice.

What is the evaluation and why is it taking place?

The DfE has commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Ipsos MORI to undertake the evaluation on its behalf. The research will explore how changes and increased flexibilities within the Traineeships programme are being implemented. The findings will inform decisions about the development and future shape of the Traineeships programme.

The aims of the research are to:

■    Understand how the changes to the programme been received and implemented.

■    Highlight the successes, challenges and lessons learnt from participating in and/or delivering the expanded, more flexible programme.

■    Identify and understand the short- and medium-term outcomes for trainees that have participated since September 2020.

How can you help?

The evaluation consists of 30 interviews with a sample of Traineeship providers, 30 interviews with employers and interviews with 30 trainees. Trainees that take part in an interview will also be asked to complete an online diary for a week.

You can support the evaluation by:

  1. Taking part in an interview: We would like to interview a senior member/s of staff at your organisation responsible for the delivery of Traineeships. This could be a small group interview with two/three members of relevant staff if appropriate. The interview will last between 45 minutes and one hour. We will ask questions about how you have implemented the new policy changes, and your views on the added flexibilities. This interview can take place via phone or video call. We would like to speak to you in June/July of this year.

  2. Support the research team to involve trainees in the evaluation: We would like to understand the trainee experience and need providers we interview to support us with this. Would you be able to support us to gain permission to engage with three current trainees in the evaluation? If you can support this aspect of the research, we will provide more information and supporting materials and arrange a discussion with someone in the research team to answer questions. 

    We are looking to involve trainees from a diverse range of backgrounds and programmes and will invite them to take part in two short research interviews and to feed back about their experience over the course of a week via an online app-based diary called AppLife. They will receive £50 in vouchers as a thank you for taking part. You will need to ask for trainees’ consent to take part. For trainees under the age of 18, we will ask for parental consent too. All our researchers have DBS checks, and we have robust safeguarding and disclosure protocols which we will share with you. The interviews and diary completion are planned for June/July 2021.

  3. Support us to involve employers in the evaluation: We would like to be able to interview up to two engaged employers you are working with to deliver placements on Traineeships. The interviews will be 30 minutes and conducted by phone or online. The interviews will cover employer engagement with Traineeships, any use of the incentive, and the effect on their organisation.  

What about data protection?

The DfE is the data controller for the evaluation. By responding to this invitation, you are consenting for IES or Ipsos MORI to contact you about this research. Participation in all research activities is voluntary. Any information provided will be reported anonymously, and individuals and organisations will not be identifiable in the evaluation report. We operate in line with data protection legislation (GDPR): we will store your personal data securely, we will not use your personal data for any purpose other than this research and your personal data will be deleted from our records at the end of the project. Further information on how we will handle your data can be found here.

Who can I speak to about the evaluation?

For further information please contact:

Rosie Gloster, Institute for Employment Studies

Catherine Crick, Ipsos MORI

ESFA Traineeships Team