COVID-19 and Apprenticeships

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Employment & HR Article

26 March, 2020

COVID-19 is resulting in difficult times for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, creating unprecedented and unique challenges to the usual quality and delivery of apprenticeships. The government is continuing to provide support and assistance, seeing the Education and Skills Funding Agency publishing apprenticeship guidance to ensure that where possible, apprentices complete their apprenticeships even if they are forced to take a break due to COVID-19.

Support

  • The support they are providing includes:
  • Encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable.
  • Allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible.
  • Clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues can have their End-point assessment rescheduled. Apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment timeframe.
  • Enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than four weeks.
  • Clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted.
  • Confirming that where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks.

Delivery of End-Point Assessments

Every effort should be made to ensure that apprentices continue with their apprenticeships and are assessed in the normal way in accordance with End-Point Assessment Plans and External Quality Assurance requirements. All tests must still only be carried out within a supervised and controlled environment, taking into account all security requirements.

If the End-Point Assessment process is not possible, providers are encouraged to consider whether it would be appropriate to extend the apprenticeship to allow time for the rescheduling of assessments. Gateway sign-off can be performed remotely with the agreement of the apprentice, employer and provider.

In the circumstances where an apprentice is post Gateway and there is a time limited stipulated for the End-Point Assessment Plan to be completed, this may be extended by up to 12 weeks.

Queries

The Department for Education have established a Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 046 8687.

For further information on the guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the Coronavirus, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response

For more information contact James Barron in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 0161 918 0017. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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