Coronavirus and Apprenticeships

Coronavirus – The position of Apprenticeships 

During the course of the COVID-19 outbreak the government have expressed that they are committed to supporting apprentices and their employers to continue to build the skills and capabilities the country needs now and in the future.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue to complete their apprenticeship, despite any breaks in learning they are made to take as a result of COVID-19. They have also expressed their support for providers during this challenging time.

Can Apprentices be furloughed?

It has now been confirmed that apprentices can be furloughed just as all other employees. However, apprentices must be paid at minimum wage for the time they spend training. This means that employers must cover any shortfall between the amount claimed for their wage through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and minimum wage.

Alongside being furloughed they can also continue their training, as long as this does not provide services or generate revenue for their employer. The government also stated that HM Treasury will NOT be pausing apprenticeship levy payments for employers.

Due to the interruption to learning that may be caused as a result of COVID-19, apprentices have been allowed ‘breaks in learning’ where interruption is greater than 4 weeks. Any break in learning should be recorded and clarification on how to record breaks in learning will be provided to all employers so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted.

What will happen to assessments?

The government are encouraging that both training and assessment are to take place remotely and where possible via e-learning and have been prepared to grant extensions, where appropriate to timetable for assessments.

It has also been provided that the government are prepared to allow the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable in order to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices. Apprentices who are ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled.

Apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks.

What happens if an apprentice is made redundant? 

Where apprentices are made redundant, the government have provided they will attempt to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks.

By The Thrive Tribe

Anything within this article should not be taken as legal advice. Any information provided will be general advice and for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. If you wish to obtain specific advice to your situation and your decisions, please contact us and we will thereafter be able to advise.

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