They are meant to give young people a taste of work, but traineeship are fast becoming a necessary, if poorly rewarded, precondition to launching their careers. Work placements are often abused as a form of cheap labour, with youngsters being given no training and little or no pay and sometimes being given simple, menial tasks like photocopying and making tea that do not make use of their skills and education. The European Parliament has now called for an end to this exploitation.
This week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released some encouraging news about the state of employment in the UK - youth employment is on the up. However, nearly a million 16-24 year olds are still left without work. For many young people, this is a desperate situation. Any length of time with little or no work is an extremely difficult cycle to break.