Find out the latest information and guidance relating to apprenticeships during the COVID-19 pandemic
This page was updated on 20 January 2022.
The government has released guidance relating to apprenticeships and their management during the COVID-19 outbreak. Below is a summary of the guidelines published, as well as a case study on one of the Growth Company’s own apprentices and their management during the pandemic.
Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice
Businesses hiring an apprentice with an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022 will be able to apply for a payment of £3,000 from 11 January 2022.
More information about the incentive, the eligibility criteria, and how it can be claimed, can be found here.
Summary of government guidelines
Training and Assessment
- From 19 January 2022, apprentices are no longer required to work from home if they can.
- Training and assessment can continue to be delivered in person, including in the apprentice’s workplace, or remotely where this is appropriate.
- Apprentices who are ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to coronavirus related issues, can have their EPA rescheduled.
- All EPA flexibilities introduced due to COVID-19 have been extended until 28 February 2022. Some flexibilities will be retained permanently and will apply to all apprenticeships. The Institute has published a framework to set out how these flexibilities will be applied from 1 March 2022.
- The temporary flexibility allowing level 2 apprentices to be passed through the gateway to sit their EPA without the need to attempt the level 2 functional skills English and maths assessments ended in December. For apprentices with a planned end date after 31 December 2021, the normal (pre- COVID) rules and requirements for level 2 apprentices apply.
Breaks in Learning
For breaks in learning that are less than four weeks, no formal report is required. However, when breaks are required for more than four weeks, apprentices must report these. Even though these are usually initiated by apprentices, temporarily during the COVID-19 outbreak employers/training providers are also able to initiate in some cases.
Please note, training providers will not be paid whilst apprentices are on break. Further details on breaks in learning can be seen here.
Further details on the guidance relating to training and assessment can be found on the government's website, here.
Employment – Key points
- If an apprentice is made redundant, the training provider must support them to find alternative employment.
- Where an apprentice has been made redundant but is continuing their apprenticeship study, they can claim Universal Credit (UC) as long as they satisfy all eligibility criteria.
- Legislation allowing more redundant apprentices to complete their apprenticeships came into force on Thursday 15 October 2020.
- The government has also launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices providing advice and guidance to apprentices who have been made redundant, or who are at risk of redundancy.
More information is available through the redundant apprentices section of the government website.
For the latest information on how apprenticeships will continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, visit the government website
For any apprenticeship-related enquiries, please contact the apprenticeship service helpline by telephone on 08000 150 600 or email at email@example.com.
Growth Company Case Study
Georgia Carly – Digital Marketing, Social Media and Events Apprentice
Apprentice of the Year, The Made in Manchester Awards 2021
Georgia Carly is a Digital Marketing, Social Media and Events Apprentice for the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter. Georgia started with the Growth Company in early February and began her qualification in Digital Marketing in early March.
Nature of Work
Working in Digital Marketing, Social Media and Events means a lot of what Georgia does in her role is delivered online, except for the running of events.
“Despite the opportunity to work from home already being in place at the Growth Company, I liked coming into the office to better understand my new role and the company culture, whilst building relationships with colleagues.” As lockdown began, Georgia needed to look at moving events online which has provided her with experience of online software and a skill set to pivot offerings when they are no longer feasible in their traditional format. Additionally, the digital marketing qualification was being delivered partially online, with alternating weeks of in-class and remote working sessions.
Georgia was able to complete one in-class session before government guidance dictated all classes must now be delivered online – which the qualification was easily set up to do with online learning platforms, Zoom meetings, and communications with instructors and classmates done through online chat.
Skype for business has been fully utilised, be it for morning catch-ups and setting priorities for the day, as well as video calls with the wider team to stay connected, or to share screens to walk-through new tasks.
Frequent communication with her line manager utilising virtual channels has allowed for Georgia to continue receiving regular feedback and assessment of her work.
“While working entirely remotely isn’t ideal so early in a learning role, it has given me the opportunity to complete online training on different platforms, better understand programmes through trial and error, and have more autonomy over tasks and time management, all with the support of the team.”Georgia Carly
”Adapting to working and learning at home has come with its challenges. The lack of face-to-face guidance, especially when so new to my role, took some getting used to. However, overall the experience has encouraged me to think on my feet, have confidence in my own ability to work independently, and realise the value of collaboration – even if only over virtual communication. Support from the team through daily catch-ups have been essential, as a reminder that none of us are alone in these anxieties, and that we’re all ready to help each other no matter how small the issue may seem.”
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The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.