In this difficult time, employers and training providers are doing their best for their workforce. We want to support that by ensuring that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they have to take as a result of COVID-19.
The government have introduced flexibilities to make it easier for apprentices to continue on their programme, even if furloughed by their employer.
Guidance for Furloughed apprentices
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions, and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.
A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of the employer. Training in this context includes apprenticeship off-the-job training. Our tutors are delivering training remotely, a furloughed apprentice can therefore continue their apprenticeship whilst furloughed.
Where training is undertaken by furloughed workers, at the request of their employer, workers are entitled to be paid at least the National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of a worker’s wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the furlough payment does not meet the appropriate minimum wage for the time spent training, employers will need to pay the additional wages.
How we are continuing our Apprenticeship programmes
Enrolments – As a result of developing a fully remote process, we are able to complete enrolments more efficiently, whilst not impacting on quality. If you have planned apprentices due to enrol or if you are wanting to enrol a new apprentice please e mail the team and they will provide you with all of the necessary information.
Classroom Learning – classroom delivery has moved online through the Microsoft Teams platform. The 20% off the job training continues as usual. Apprentices can contact their tutors to ask questions and lessons are live and interactive.
Progress visits – For some time we have been developing and moving toward more flexible methods of learning and assessment for our Apprenticeship programmes. We have brought those plans forward and are now able to deliver fully remote and engaging sessions through our e-portfolio system. Tutors and assessors are in regular contact with all apprentices and alternative assessment methods are agreed with awarding organisations to ensure continuity of programmes as much as possible.
End-Point Assessments – Our first remote End Point Assessments were carried out successfully for our Degree Apprentices at the end of March and we have more due in the coming months.