COVID-19 Apprentice Employers FAQs

Apprenticeships | Kiran Kapur | 07 April 2020

We answer the most-asked questions so far from our apprentice employers. We will be updating this page frequently. If you cannot find the answers to your questions below, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Last updated 17th December 2021 15.05pm

We are keeping a close eye on Government guidance and will ensure to update this insight as soon as required.

Q: The Chancellor announced employer financial incentives to recruit an apprentice. What are these?


In October 2021, the Chancellor announced a new incentive payment of £3,000 for each apprentice of any age who is recruited between 1st October 2021 and 31st January 2022 (ie they have an employment start date between these dates). This incentive can be applied for in January 2022. This is on top of the £1000 employer payment for recruiting apprentices aged between 16-18, or those aged under 25 who have an Eduction, Health and Care Plan. Government guidance on incentives for hiring an apprentice Please note that it is the employer's responsibility to claim the incentive payment.

Employers will be able to apply for a payment of £3,000 for apprentices with an employment start date between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022. The apprentice must start their training before 31 March 2022.

The application window for employers to claim the incentive for these apprentices will open on 11 January and will close on 15 May 2022.

The government have produced some guidance:
* how to apply guide including when to apply, steps to take before applying, how to apply and what happens after applying
* guidance page including eligibility, how the payment can be used and when payments are made

In the March 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced an incentive payment for £3000 for each apprentice of any age who is recruited between 1st April and 31st September 2021. The apprenticeship training must start by 30th November 2021. This payment must be claimed by the employer by 30th November 2021. This is on top of the £1000 employer payment for recruiting apprentices aged between 16-18, or those aged under 25 who have an Eduction, Health and Care Plan. Government guidance on incentives for hiring an apprentice

Q: How has the pandemic affected apprentices?


The situation is mixed. Many have continued with their training, others have taken a break. We are aware of mental health concerns affecting all apprentices and we continue to offer support and Safeguarding. In 2021, two members of staff were trained to become Mental Health First Aiders.

Apprentices working from home can feel isolated and we have introduced informal, but guided, virtual coffee mornings which are proving very popular. Apprentices are now also coping with concerns about working in an office, especially if they have not done so for a while or have never done so.

We also acknowledge the soft skills and life lessons learnt by our apprentices during lockdown, such as handling new forms of communication, and we discussed the 7 most common life skills learnt in lockdown in an article in FE News.

Q: How can I contact you?

A: Under Plan B Covid restrictions, we are working from home. The best way to get in contact is to email our Apprentice Lead, Charlotte Lestienne, contact us via live chat or call 01954 234 940.

Please note that the College is closed from 5pm Wednesday 22nd December to 9am Wednesday 5th January 2022

Q: If apprentices are too busy to do the apprenticeship training, can they have a break?

A: Yes. The rules are different depending on how long the break is. Contact us for advice.

Q: We have to make an apprentice redundant. Can the apprentice continue to train?

A: It depends how long the apprentice has left to complete the training. The variations are (1) have less than 6 months left to completion (2) between 6-12 months and (3) more than 12 months. There may be further government reviews of the rules so please check the up to date Government guidance on redundancy and apprentices.

Q: Is CMC able to continue to teach and support apprentices?

A: Yes!

Our training has always been online, and so we continue to be able to deliver.

Our office staff and tutors are all working from home. We have no staff on furlough, and so are able to provide a full-service. Apprentices may contact their tutors, or contact our Apprentice Programme Administraor Tracy Warkcup via email or through our live chat or call 01954 234 940.

Q: What about Safeguarding?

A: Our Safeguarding Officer, Angie Annies, is available to support apprentices, 01954 234 940 or through our live chat. Should Angie become unavailable, we have deputies in place.

Anige is a Mental Health First Aider.

Q: What happens with End Point Assessments?

A: All End Point Assessment Organisations are being sympathetic to the problems apprentices are experiencing. All our assessments have been adjusted so that these can now be undertaken remotely. 

Q: Where can I find the Government's latest information?

A: Official government guidance.

Guidance on furlough

Q: Can apprentices on furlough continue to train?

A: Yes!

This is an excellent time to do off-the-job training. They can do more training (‘loading the training’) so that they have more time to work on-the-job when they return to work.

The rules state that they must not be generating profit or services for your company. Training and volunteering are specifically allowed.

Our tutor can ensure that their set tasks are appropriate to their new circumstances.

Q: What is the ESFA guidance on furloughing apprentices?

A: The ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency is the governmental body overseeing apprentice training) has been issuing updated guidance on furloughing apprentices:

  • Furloughed apprentices can continue with their apprenticeships providing that it does not generate income or provide services to their employer.
  • Apprentices who are placed on furlough will be entitled to the support detailed in the scheme, and to continue training.
  • Any apprenticeship training undertaken will continue to be supported, and payments made to the provider.

Q: What about minimum wage?

A: If the 80% furlough payment would take your apprentices below the minimum apprentice wage, employers must top-up to the apprentice minimum wage for the time they are training only.

Q: Can a staff member on furlough start an apprenticeship?

A: Yes. You will need to sign a contract with an apprentice training provider and have the apprentice inducted remotely. 

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