At this time we have collated some useful information and resources for you.
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The information on this page is not for health or medical advice and if you have any enquiries regarding such please visit the GOV.UK website or the Public Health websites listed at the end of this page.
Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations about changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak – updated 24 April 2020. Article in FE News
ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme COVID-19 response: policy document – Information about support available for post-16 training providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
HMRC publish furlough and training guidance for apprentices
The government has finally confirmed that apprentices can continue with funded training when employers use the job retention scheme, subject to being paid the apprenticeship minimum wage “for all the time they spend training”.
HMRC guidance published today (click here), says: “Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst furloughed.
“However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.
“Guidance is available for changes in apprenticeship learning arrangements because of COVID-19.” Click here
Article in FE Week 4 April
New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills
Online platform ‘The Skills Toolkit’ will help people to build their skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home. Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.
Employers are also encouraged to use The Skills Toolkit to help to support and develop furloughed employees who are interested in learning from home
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers
Updated 6 April 2020
Advice from Unionlearn
Apprenticeships & Covid-19
Coronavirus pandemic impact on your apprenticeship
Unionlearn has set up a page on its website to pull together information to support apprentices
Guidance from Youth Employment
- Supporting young people through Covid-19 – a specific article for employers on best youth employment practice (apprentices in particular could be adversely affected)
- What is an online meeting and how do you do them – content for young people but might be handy for all-aged workers new to being involved in online meetings with some great meeting etiquette tips
- Getting benefit support if you become ill with the Coronavirus – for young people who may be on zero hours, trainees or other “at-risk” groups
Coronavirus (COVID-19): apprenticeship programme response
This document sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Published 23 March 2020
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE)
Guidance on the delivery of assessment – Response to COVID-19. Published 23 March 2020
AELP advice on providing training to furloughed apprentices
Association of Employment and Learning Providers advice on whether training can continue for apprentices who have been furloughed
Guidance on communicating with furloughed employees
Some organisations across the U.K have started to furlough employees and questions are being asked on what can and can’t be communicated to these employees. The government guidance quite clearly states that as soon as an employee is furloughed they should not be doing any work for the organisation until their furlough period ends, this also means that any comms they receive from the organisation should be non-work related.
CIPR Inside has created a short guide with some advice on how organisations should manage their communication with furloughed colleagues.
How Will The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic Affect Apprenticeships?
Article in FE News 31 March
Letter from Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills – 23 March 2020
Letter from Gillian Keegan
CITB paying apprenticeship grants in advance
CITB is making available advanced payment of apprenticeship attendance grants for second and third year apprentices to help keep skills within the construction industry amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus: ‘Break in learning’ rule suspended for affected apprentices
Article in FE Week 9 March 2020
In order to support the sector during any disruption which may be experienced due to Covid-19 these are the initial recommendations from the Department for Education:
- Apprentices who are ready for assessment – i.e. who reach gateway and cannot be assessed due to assessor illness or Covid-19 related measures, will be allowed to have a break in learning. This should protect funding and completion of apprenticeships and should be reflected in the July completion rules. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore we only need notifying once a break in learning has exceeded 4 weeks. A break in learning must occur before the learner is recorded as completed. Apprentices can go on a break in learning between completing the learning activity (learning actual end date) and the assessment, but there would be no requirement to record in this in the ILR as it will not have an effect on funding.
- Apprentices who experience gaps in training due to Covid-19 related illness in the workplace or off the job can classify this period as a break in learning. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore we only need notifying once a break in learning has exceeded 4 weeks.
- Usually breaks in learning are only permitted where they are learner driven, however we are aware that there may be occasion where an employer who is following government advice may take action that results in an apprenticeship have to be paused. In these occasions a break in learning can be used where there will be a break of longer than 4 weeks. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed.
- In order to maintain the integrity of high quality assessment of apprenticeships we are going to monitor the situation and will issue further advice and modifications relating to specific assessment methods if necessary.
- We advise adhering to the current escalation process of raising EPA (end-point assessment) issues through EQAPs (external quality assurance providers) in the first instance.
There is a need for everyone (employer, provider, EPAO, Apprentice) to take a reasonable and balanced approach in these situations and to recognise that the health and wellbeing of individuals is a higher priority than performance measures.
We know that good communications between each of these parties is important to the successful delivery of EPA anyway. So, in these circumstances that communication becomes even more important.
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) will shortly be publishing guidance for this area in response to potential disruption from Covid-19.
Skills Development Scotland
Advice from Skills Development Scotland for individual, employers and training providers
Plus some FAQs
Apprenticeship rules relaxed over coronavirus fears
Article in TES published 9 March 2020
Providers will not be fined if apprentices are forced to take a break in learning related to the Covid-19 outbreak
Protecting Apprentices during this #Coronavirus crisis
Article in FE Week published 20 March 2020
Urgent action needed to support our #Apprentices – Tomorrow’s workforce
Overcoming the Challenges of Managing a Remote Team
Article in FE News published 17 March 2020
Some useful suggestions
As more and more of us are moving to remote/home working this brings new challenges in not only working effectively but also our wellbeing and resilience. I’m pleased to be able to pass on a link to ‘LinkedIn Learning’ – who have opened up 16 modules for free access.
Calls to Government
Gillian Keegan’s letter to College leaders about #Coronavirus, closing on Monday, Funding, Exams, ongoing support and communication to the sector
Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills wrote to the FE College leaders about the measures to restrict Covid-19 in FE and the measure that the Government has put in place. Here is the letter published in FE News 20 March 2020
Coronavirus: Apprenticeship provider demands
Association of Employment and Learning Providers calls on government to provide funding guarantees over apprenticeships
Article in TES published 20 March 2020
The Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task Force – CCATF Chair raises sector concerns with Secretary of State for Education
CCATF Chair Martyn Price, MBE, invites Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education to consider innovative, high impact options in support of the skills and apprenticeship landscape within the construction sector
The following websites give up to date and informed advice:
- Public Health England: www.gov.uk/government/
- Scotland: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/
- Ireland: https://www.hse.ie/eng/
- Wales: www.publichealthwales.wales.
- World Health Organisation: www.who.int