New government advice on apprenticeships and training for furloughed employees
The Government has updated its guidance on providing apprenticeships and training for furloughed employees during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The guidance, aimed at apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance, demonstrates the Government’s commitment to helping individuals and businesses continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and to support providers during this challenging time.
The support includes:
- confirming flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training and to take their end-point assessment, and to allow existing furloughed employees to start a new apprenticeship, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer
- 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 – this is in order to support employers, providers and end-point assessment organisation (EPAOs) to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
- 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 time frame
- 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 4 weeks
- clarification on how to record breaks in learning in March 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
- confirming that where apprentices are made redundant and are ready to go through gateway, that providers and EPAOs are able to make the necessary assessment arrangements to support these apprentices
The full information should be read alongside the government’s COVID-19 guidance and support for businesses, in particular the salary support for furloughed employees, which also applies to apprentices.
Read guidance from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) on the delivery of assessment.
Meanwhile, 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.
Where their provider can continue to deliver 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 appropriate 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.
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