Latest on Apprenticeships: The Department for Education has published guidance on Providing Apprenticeships during the Coronavirus Outbreak, which confirms that training and assessment for apprentices should take place remotely wherever possible. Face-to-face training can continue in colleges and training providers’ premises for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers who need it. Construction apprentices can continue their training in the workplace where the apprentice cannot work from home and the workplace is COVID‐19 secure.
Apprentices who were planning to undertake end‐point‐assessment in January, or are planning to do so in February or March, may now attend educational settings for face‐to‐face training in socially‐distanced small groups where it is not possible for their training to be completed remotely.
The Government has extended the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice until 30 April 2021. Employers taking on new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 are eligible to receive a grant of £2,000 per apprentice aged 16 ‐ 25 and £1,500 for those 25 and over. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment available for hiring an apprentice aged 16 ‐ 18 or under 25 with an education, health and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority.
Companies must set up an apprenticeship service account to apply for the incentive payment; if you have already started your apprentice without an account, you will not be able to claim the incentive.
The Institute of Apprenticeships has produced guidance on apprentices that are effected by delays including for End Point Assessments (EPA) and to avoid ‘hardship’, putting in place professional ‘discretion’ to help support apprentices through to completions.
Apprentices on furlough can still complete EPAs, if provisions by the EPA Organisation have been put in place adapting for their assessments in light of the COVID-19 public health requirements.
You can find these details and the full FAQs here.
Government Support for Apprentices
The Education & Skills Funding Agency has published guidance for employers, training providers and apprentices covering:
- confirming flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training and to take their end-point assessment, and to allow existing furloughed employees to start a new apprenticeship, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer
- encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable
- allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible – this is in order to support employers, providers and end-point assessment organisation (EPAOs) to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
- clarifying that apprentices 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
- clarification on how to record breaks in learning in March so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
- confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks
- confirming that where apprentices are made redundant and are ready to go through gateway, that providers and EPAOs are able to make the necessary assessment arrangements to support these apprentices
You can view the full guidance here.
The way in which new apprenticeships are delivered will change from a framework to a standards model from 1 August 2020, and all employers in England will have to arrange their apprenticeships through the Government’s Apprenticeship Service from 1 April 2021. CITB is advising employers still using apprenticeship frameworks to plan their move to standards and set up an Apprenticeship Service account.
Apprentices Training and Working On Site
Apprentices can continue to work for you as long as you are operating a COVID secure environment. Further Education Colleges and other private providers are not permitted to undertake face-to-face training during this lockdown, and they may move some sessions to being online/remote. You should speak to the college or training provider to see how they will support your apprentice remotely or their plans to pick up training once restrictions ease.