COVID-19 Apprentice Employers FAQs

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 07/05/2020 at 16:08pm

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.

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 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.

For further details and worked examples, see example scenarios for wage-up requirements for training time  Source (AELP)

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. 

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

A: These are the initial changes from the Department for Education:

  • 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 [the ESFA] 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.

Source: http://www.aelpaskashworth.org.uk

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 staff via email angie@marketingcollege.com or through our live chat (at www.marketingcollege.com)

Q: What about Safeguarding?

A: Our Safeguarding Officer, Angie Annies, is available to support apprentices angie@marketingcollege.com or through our live chat (at www.marketingcollege.com). Should Angie become unavailable, we have deputies in place.

Q: What happens with End Point Assessments?

A: All End Point Assessment Organisations are being sympathetic to the problems apprentices are experiencing. Some assessments have been adjusted so that these can now be undertaken remotely. This will come into immediate effect for the following standards:

  • Public Relations and Communications Assistant

Full details of the changes can be found at EPA Remote Assessment.

  • Marketing Executive (Level 4)
  • Marketing Manager (Level 6)

It has been agreed that all methods of assessment can be delivered remotely.

The Institute of Apprentices has published a list of all the Standards where flexibility has been agreed.

The current ESFA guidance state:

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 the ESFA will need notifying only if 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.

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

A: Official government guidance.

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