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 11/03/2021 10.40am

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

Q: How has lockdown 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.

Apprentices working from home can feel isolated and we have introduced informal, but guided, virtual coffee mornings which are proving very popular.

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: 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.

We have not had any staff on furlough so are able to offer a full service.

Q: The Chancellor announced employer financial incentives to recruit an apprentice. What is this?

A: In his Summer Statement 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will pay each employer £2,000 for every apprentice recruited under the age of 25 and £1,500 for every apprentice recruited over the age of 25. Recruitment must be between 1st August 2020 and 31st March 2021 - this has been extended as the original announcement was recruitment to the end of January 2021. Full details and how to claim.

In the March 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced a further incentive payment for £3000 for each apprentice of any age who is recruited between 1st April and 31st September 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. Full details of the apprentice incentive payment and how to claim.

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. 

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.


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 (at 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.

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. 

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

A: Official government guidance.

This website uses cookies!

Cookies are important to maintain the functionality of this website and to continually improve your experience.
We'll assume you're okay with this unless you decide to opt out — Find out more