These are difficult times for employers, apprentices and providers of apprenticeship training and assessment. As part of the cross-government efforts to respond to the impact of COVID-19, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, for the duration of the pandemic, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.
Some of you will still be working whilst others will be on furlough leave. For all apprentices The Real Apprenticeship Company will work with your employer to enable you to engage in digital or distance learning at a convenient time within your agreed working hours. You will be appointed a dedicated learning coach/trainer who will contact you and schedule a virtual video meeting or phone call. You will continue to follow your programme of study. All training will count towards your 20% off the job training requirement and can be logged onto your off the job training log.
If you need to self-isolate or look after a family member, please talk to your learning coach about the best way to continue with your apprenticeship. This could include:
an increase in remote learning
a short pause of less than 4 weeks in your apprenticeship while you are in self- isolation
a formal break in learning of 4 weeks or more that will result in the planned end-date for your apprenticeship being re-planned upon returning to learning to take into consideration the length of your break
re-scheduling planned assessment activity for a later date
The appropriate steps will be agreed based on you and your employer’s situation. If you are unable to work or attend a training session then you will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract.
Can training continue for furloughed apprentices?
Yes, where apprentices are furloughed, they can continue to train for their apprenticeships.
The Real Apprenticeship Company and your employer do not want the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent our apprentices continuing to learn where this is still possible. Not being able to apply the learning straight away might present some challenges, but there are benefits from carrying on with the apprenticeship during this time, including continued engagement and progression that can all be applied to the job once it is safe and practical to do so.
Why should I continue my learning if I can’t go to work?
Will I be paid for continuing my learning if I have been furloughed?
Yes. While furloughed you will still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. While you cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough you can undertake training. Where training has been required by your employer you should be paid the appropriate minimum wage for the time spent training. This will be covered as part of your furlough payment in the first instance. However, where the time spent training attracts an appropriate minimum wage in excess of the furlough payment you employer should top up your furlough payment.
What happens if I'm made redundant?
If you are to be made redundant first speak to your learning coach as your apprenticeship training may be able to continue. The Real Apprenticeship Company may still be able to offer training, based on your circumstances, in the short term. The Real Apprenticeship Company may even be able to support you in finding a new employer.
What if I'm on unpaid leave?
Where your employer is asking you to take a period of unpaid leave, you can take a break from your apprenticeship and resume when you return to work. Please get in touch with your learning coach to arrange a break in learning.
How do I manage if I am put on unpaid leave?
Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Alternatively, Universal Credit may be available for both workers and the unemployed alike, as long as they meet the other conditions of entitlement (including that the applicant and their partner have savings of under £16,000 between them). Apprentices may be entitled to access Universal Credit during a period of unpaid leave. They may also have access to Universal Credit even if they were working and being paid. Being laid off or on a lesser number of hours could increase the rate of Universal Credit entitlement.
I am on a fixed-term contract which would ordinarily have given enough time to complete the training and the end-point assessment. If the training is delayed, and I have not completed my EPA before I leave employment, can I do the end-point assessment afterwards?
You must be employed when you are taking your end-point assessment so, where a break in learning has been necessary and the planned end-date for your apprenticeship has had to move back, please speak to your learning coach. We will work with you to reschedule your training which may also include reviewing your apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement.
What will happen if I am not well enough to take my end-point assessment?
If you are unwell, or in a period of self-isolation, and unable to attend your end-point assessment, please contact your learning coach as soon as you are able, to allow them maximum time to re- schedule your assessment.
Gateways are being delayed and I cannot complete the end-point assessment in the required timeframe.
Apprentices who are deemed ready for assessment, and cannot be assessed due to assessor illness, or Covid-19 related measures, are allowed to take a break before taking their EPA, and for
the EPA to be rescheduled.
How will remote invigilation be conducted?
Remote tests should be supervised by an appropriately trained invigilator, or assessor, who has the necessary qualifications, training or experience and who has not been involved in the training, preparation or line management of the apprentice. Tests must only be carried out within a supervised and controlled environment that meets the security requirements.