Find out the latest information and guidance relating to apprenticeships during the COVID-19 pandemic
This page was updated on 31 July 2020.
On 6 April 2020, the government released guidance relating to apprenticeships and their management during the COVID-19 outbreak, encouraging these to be flexibly delivered to those able to work from home. 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.
From 15 June 2020, apprenticeships could start to be delivered in an educational setting again with training being prioritised for 16 -19 apprentices. From 13 July, in addition to a limited number of 16-19 apprentices attending on-site delivery, providers can now make arrangements for 19+ apprentices to return to on-site delivery, where this can be safely accommodated. Further information can be seen here.
The government has introduced a temporary flexibility allowing apprenticeship certificates which are usually sent to the apprentice's employer to be sent to the apprentice’s training provider or to the apprentice themselves if the employer’s office is closed.
Summary of government guidelines
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.
Please note, training providers will not be paid whilst apprentices are on break. Further details on breaks in learning can be seen here.
It is preferable for assessments to take place remotely. If this is not feasible and an assessment centre meets the safer working guidance, apprentices can attend to undertake their End Point Assessment (EPA). Apprentices who are ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to coronavirus related issues, can have their EPA rescheduled.
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has announced that all EPA flexibilities introduced due to COVID-19 will be extended until the end of the year.
The government has also announced that the temporary flexibility which was introduced allowing level 2 apprentices to be passed through gateway to sit their EPA without the need to attempt the level 2 functional skills English and maths assessments has been extended until 31 December 2020.
Employment – Key points
Employers will be required to pay additional wages where the furlough payment does not meet the appropriate minimum wage for the time spent training.
During the furlough period, training can continue. This can be provided remotely or face-to-face where it is safe to do so.
- If an apprentice is made redundant, the training provider must support them to find an 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. More information is available through the redundant apprentices section of the government website.
- The government has also announced that it will soon be launching a support service for redundant apprentices.
Further information can be seen through the government’s FAQ section on Apprenticeship trainig. For any apprenticeship-related enquiries, please contact the apprenticeship service helpline by telephone on 08000 150 600 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growth Company Case Study
Georgia Carly – Digital Marketing, Social Media and Events Apprentice
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.” IAs 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 t 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.”
Visit our FAQs page for more Coronavirus Business related information
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.