COVID-19: New measures applicable to apprenticeships
In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing temporary measures with a view to enabling apprenticeships to continue and complete without great disruption.
The government published a set of guidelines explaining how these measures are to be implemented in practice. We summarise the key points below:
- Employers and training assessment providers are encouraged to make use of distance-learning tools whenever possible and practicable.
- In accordance with the current apprenticeship funding rules, a break in learning must be initiated by the apprentice. The new guidance provides that employers and training providers can now, temporarily, also report and initiate a break in learning where the interruption to learning is greater than 4 weeks.
- Apprenticeship training providers will continue to be paid retrospectively for the training they have delivered and can evidence.
- Where learners take breaks in learning, training providers must report this in line with the government’s guidance (briefly summarised below). Training providers will not receive payments for learners who are on a break in learning.
- Where training has been delivered in March 2020 but a break in learning has begun (or is expected to start before the end of March 2020), to ensure payment for these apprentices, training providers should: (1) include these learners in their March ILR submission as on programme; (2) record, retain and submit evidence in the usual way; (3) record a break in learning in their April ILR submission; and (4) ensure that these learners are not recorded as permanently withdrawn from their apprenticeship.
- For a break period greater than 4 weeks that begins on or after 1 April 2020: (1) the training provider should report this in their April ILR submission using the last day in learning, or in the month in which the break of learning commenced; and (2) the apprenticeship should be paused by the employer through the apprenticeship service at the point the break in learning begins.
- It is not necessary for apprentices to comply with the minimum 20% off-the-job training requirement during breaks in learning.
- Modifications to end-point assessment arrangements may be allowed where practicable and possible.
- Apprentices who are ready for assessment but cannot be assessed due to the pandemic can have their end-point assessment rescheduled.
- Apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to their assessment timeframe.
- The government has expressed an ambition to support redundant apprentices with finding alternative employment and continuing their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks.
- Where apprentices are furloughed, they are permitted to continue with their training: (1) where their provider can continue to deliver this remotely; and (2) as long as they do not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer.
- HM Treasury will not be pausing apprenticeship levy payments for employers.
- The new measures shall start immediately and apply until further notice.
For the full government guidance please click here.
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All information in this document is accurate at the time of writing. It is meant for general information only and is not legal advice.