This article examines the scope for state intervention in the training and learning environment of young people in initial employment. It reports on the findings of a qualitative study of 11 teenagers entering full-time employment in New South Wales, Australia relating to the breadth and depth of the young people's learning in their jobs, and the factors which facilitated or inhibited their learning. Differences were found between those young people who were in formal contracts of training'apprenticeships and traineeships'and those who were not. It is argued that government intervention in young people's training need not be confined to the policy area of apprenticeships and traineeships. Other possible points of intervention by the state are suggested, using examples from the case studies to illustrate the beneficial effects which might flow from such intervention.