Hostel's trainee scheme 'sounds like unpaid work' UNION CONCERN OVER YHA CONWY TRAINEESHIPS.
Byline: OWEN HUGHES Business Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
A HOSTEL charity is offering "life-transforming" traineeships to jobless young people in North Wales - but a union is concerned they "sound" like unpaid work.
YHA (England and Wales) is offering 18-24 year-olds the opportunity to undertake a traineeship in Conwy youth hostel on Sychnant Pass Road.
It would see them spend up to 12 weeks at the hostel gaining front and back of house experience as well as customer service training.
But they come with no pay - although a travel allowance of up to PS15 a day is available - and no recognisable qualification.
This has seen the Unite union raise fears about the length of the unpaid roles offered by the charity - particularly as there is no job at the end of it.
The YHA said it had a long history of offering volunteering opportunities to young people all around the UK.
Get A spokesman said: "As part of the traineeship, they'll be given training at the youth hostels and also have access to online learning modules relating to health and safety, safeguarding and food hygiene.
"Everyone who completes a traineeship programme with YHA will be given a reference, certificate and exit interview, paving the way for them to gain employment and kick-start a career.
the latest North Wales news at www.dailypost.wales "The new YHA traineeships builds on YHA's long running successful volunteering programme for 16-24-year-olds which has seen young volunteer numbers grow to 25% of all active volunteers at the charity over the past five years."
James Blake, chief executive of YHA (England and Wales), said: "Our new traineeship programme takes volunteering for YHA to a new level, enabling unemployed young people to gain the vital skills and experience they need on their CV to get that all important paid job.
"Transforming the lives of young people has been YHA's purpose for more than 85 years."
Unite regional secretary for Wales Peter Hughes said: "The Youth Hostel Association does tremendously important work, however on the information presented Unite believes that this scheme needs to be rethought.
"These 'traineeships' sound like unpaid work, with no further employment at the end of it. "Rather than offer 'traineeships' the YHA needs urgently to refocus their efforts on expanding its apprenticeship programme where young people will be able to achieve recognisable qualifications." A YHA spokeswoman added: "YHA has always relied on volunteers and it's not unusual for young people to take on six to eight week volunteering roles, eg over the summer holidays - this is an extension of our volunteering programme, working with partners who offer additional skills learning opportunities, and is particularly aimed at young people who need a helping hand into work. It's a twoway benefit. It doesn't replace apprenticeships which YHA already offers.
"A traineeship includes functional skills learning (provided by a partner) as well as a work experience placement provided by YHA."