Trainee PLacements - Bursaries and other matters

3 replies [Jump to last post]

Bore da / Good morning

I wondered if I might pick your collective brains.

Creative & Cultural Skills is leading on a SftF Stage 2 bid in collaboration with Welsh Government. The project will create 33 12-month training placements in the heritage sector over a three-year period. The trainees will be aged 18-24 and non-graduates who are not in education, employment or training. Each young person will be working towards an NVQ 2 qualification in Cultural Heritage. The trainees will receive a monthly bursary, and they will not be employed by the host organisations, but will be registered students with the training provider.

There are a few areas where we are currently seeking some guidance and I thought I would see if any other bodies have come across similar issues (and possibly have some answers!). Any thoughts very welcome!!

1. Level of bursary. This has proved really difficult - wanting to pay enough to make the opportunity attractive, but without creating possible tensions by paying the trainees more than the lowest paid staff in the host organisations. We have settled on £800 per month (likely to be tax free) for a 30 hour week. What are others doing?

2. We are very aware that young people receiving the bursary will see an impact on their benefits - not just Universal Credit but also housing benefit, tax credits etc. If they are living at home it could have a knock-on effect for the whole family. Other than advise them to properly check out the impact on themselves/families before starting, is there anything else realisticallly we can do?

3. We are assuming and are trying to confirm that the bursary payments will be tax free - HMRC has viewed them as students in the past for similar projects. What are other people's experiences of this issue and any tips for getting HMRC to advise/confirm?

4. One partner has asked whether the students should be subject to DBS checks. There may be situations where they are working with members of the public and even young people under 16. ANy advice on this?

Many thanks for reading my rambling post - again if you have any advice orr comments we would be grateful! I can also be contacted on

Tom Cosson

Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government


View Tom Cosson's profile Tom Cosson Jul 19 2017 - 10:21am
  1. Hi Tom,

    I too have been looking into bursary payments for our Suffolk Museums Skills for the Future project.

    In terms of how much we pay the trainees, the HLF guidance is that this should meet min wage - and thats between £5.60-£7.50p/h depending on age of the trainee.

    I've spoken to multiple people at HMRC and no one seems to be clear on the process of applying for tax exemption for a bursary. I know the British Museum has recently been paying trainees in this way so I've asked a contact there for advice and I'll share that with you once I hear back.

    You make a really good point about impact on benefits. I think it will be important to make potential applicants aware of the implications and I wonder if this is something the job centre's can provide support with?

    We will probably not be DBS checking our trainees as our policy is that this is only done when they are left unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults and as trainees they will be supervised at all times.

    May I ask who you are working with to deliver the NVQ in Cultural Heritage. We have been looking at delivering a Level 3 Diploma in Cultural Heritage with AIM.

    All the best with completing your training plan,


  2. View Rachel Macfarlane's profile Rachel Macfarlane
    Offline | Last seen: 8 months 2 weeks ago
  3. Hi Tom and Rachel,

    There is a useful earlier discussion around bursaries here this doesn't come up when you search for 'bursary' on the Online Community - or it didn't for me) including a guidance note based on the advice of previous grantees. You do need to be logged in to see the guidance note.

    I was Project Manager for a Cohort 1 Skills for the Future project (Conserving Local Communities Heritage) and we did secure tax free status for the trainee and lots of the lessons I learnt are included within the guidance note (including pointing the trainees to guidance about voluntary contributions for National Insurance).

    An evaluation of the Dept for Education Traineeship programme (in England, within this programme, traineeships are designed help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job but don’t yet have appropriate skills or experience) considers the impact of the payment of bursaries

    “Another barrier was regarding decisions to provide small bursary payments for attendance of work placements and to provide financial support. The provision of such financial support was not always perceived to fit with JCP rules and was felt to dis-incentivise some young people to enrol on the programme. Some providers assumed that young people would have to sign off Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit and give up their guaranteed benefit entitlement if additional financial support or bursaries were offered. One provider ensured bursaries were at the same level of payment so that there was no disadvantage to claimants.”

    The full report can be found here

    Best wishes,


  4. View Emma Stagg's profile Emma Stagg
    Offline | Last seen: 1 hour 30 min ago
  5. in reply to

    Thanks so much Emma,

    This is helpful stuff.  I've read the feed and will take a look at your evaluation. Hopefully things will become clearer for us soon.

    Best wishes,



  6. View Rachel Macfarlane's profile Rachel Macfarlane
    Offline | Last seen: 8 months 2 weeks ago
Back to top of page