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What Is a Trainee Contract?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
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A trainee contract is a legal written document assigned to a newly hired employee working in an entry-level job or internship. It usually outlines objectives that trainees are expected to learn on the job, daily assigned duties, and the length of time for temporary job or internship positions. Pay schedules and weekly hours are also included in a trainee contract for paid positions. Apprenticeship positions also normally require a trainee contract that specifies whether an employer will offer trainees full-time employment in the same company provided they gain the necessary skills.

Many types of trainee positions provide good opportunities for new workers to get a foot in the door. These jobs often allow them to learn the skills they need for career advancement in a specific industry. Educational requirements for trainee jobs can vary by industry and by the policies of different companies offering these types of positions. Some require completion of a two-year or four-year college degree while others may only require a high school diploma.

The typical trainee contract acts as a binding agreement between a trainee and a mentoring employer so that the trainee can learn on the job in the most effective manner possible. This document usually lists skill sets that the employer agrees to teach the trainee within a given time frame. It also lists agreed-on criteria that the trainee agrees to meet, including minimum job attendance and the following of safety rules. Some fields such as health care often require trainees to carry current health insurance as a precaution, and this criteria is also usually included in the contract.

An apprentice trainee contract often outlines how long an apprentice is expected to stay in this type of job position. Most apprenticeships last from one to four years and consist of both classroom and hands-on training. Some apprentices may also be expected to pass certain skill tests at the end of each prescribed year in order to remain in good standing, and this information is normally outlined as part of the contract as well.

Employers who hire trainees for seasonal or summer jobs usually require them to sign temporary employment contracts. These contracts often state that the term of employment will not last more than a few months and does not guarantee permanent trainee job placement. Depending on local employment laws, these contracts may also specify that a trainee is not eligible to receive benefits such as insurance or unemployment compensation once the temporary job ends.

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