Traineeship Eligibility for learners is complex. The rules given here are for the year starting 1st August 2014.

Eligibility is based mainly on:

  • age
  • qualifications
  • work experience
  • residency


For eligibility, age is determined by the full year age of the learner on 31st August for the funding year.

  • The funding year runs from 1st August.
  • The learner must be aged 16-24.
  • The learner cannot start a traineeship after their 25th birthday.


The qualifications requirements are that the trainee must not yet have achieved a full level-3, or equivalent, qualification or above.

Work experience

The learner should:

  • be considered unemployed
  • have little work experience
  • be ready for employment or an Apprenticeship within six months
For learners aged 16-18 they can be ready for full-time education as well as employment or an Apprenticeship.

An individual is not eligible to start a Traineeship if they are:

  • ready to start an Apprenticeship;
  • ready to enter work; or employed

  • As well those who do not have a job, those who are employed are allowed to take part in a Traineeship if they work no more than 16 hours a week and earn less than 16 times the National Minimum Wage each week, or less than £330 a month.
  • For the purposes of eligibility for full funding for a Traineeship, learners who are receiving Universal Credit, and are in the Work Preparation Group or the Work Focused Interview Group, are considered to be unemployed if they are earning less than 16 times the National Minimum Wage each week or less than £330 a month.


Funding for Traineeships in England is provided by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

Eligibility for Traineeship funding depends on the learner being ordinarily resident in the UK. There are various exceptions and allowances. You should check the details in the relevant documents.

Those aged 16-18 are funded by the EFA.

Those aged 19-24 are funded by SFA, the exception is that those aged 19-24 with an Education, Health Care plan (EHCP) or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) are funded by EFA.

The rules for EFA and SFA are slightly different.

  • The EFA rules are detailed in paragraphs 20 to 37 of the EFA’s Funding guidance for young people 2013/14: Funding regulations.
  • The SFA rules are described in the Annex of the SFA Funding Rules 2014 to 2015 Version 2


A learner cannot start until 1 August after they leave Year 11. 

All learners will be fully funded for all of their Traineeship programme.

Offenders released on temporary licence (ROTL) are considered to be unemployed. So only those offenders from a prison where an OFSTED inspection and feedback through an Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons inspection leads us to judge the OLASS provision to be ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ are eligible for a Traineeship. The Traineeship must be funded by the relevant funding source and not through OLASS.

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