This advice is provided by the Government, whilst we are revising it as it changes you should also check here.
If you are an apprentice in this current pandemic situation we can guarantee you’ve got questions about your employment, learning and future. Whilst the world might seem uncertain we are all working to provide some clarity and to champion for the best responses to this pandemic for all young people.
The questions below cover changes to learning and employment and changes to assessment. This current period may require to work differently and support other projects, it may mean that your learning is interrupted or that your apprenticeship is paused. There is nothing wrong with feeling uncertain at this time but ensure you keep talking to your employer and/or training provider. There is also a DfE Coronavirus helpline you can call: 0800 046 8687
Changes to learning and employment
1. If I need to self-isolate, what will happen to my apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships have been designed to be responsive to changes in apprentices’ circumstances, for example during a period of illness. If you need to self-isolate, please talk to your employer and training provider about the best way to continue with your apprenticeship, or report a break in learning.
- an increase in e-learning
- a short pause of less than 4 weeks in your apprenticeship while you are in self- isolation. This will not affect the planned end-date of your apprenticeship
- a formal break in learning of 4 weeks or more that your training provider should report to the ESFA. This will result in the planned end-date for your apprenticeship being re-planned, upon returning to learning, to take into consideration the duration in line with the length of your break
- re-scheduling planned assessment activity for a later date
The appropriate steps will be agreed based on your and your employer/training provider’s situation.
2. I need to take care of myself/a family member. Can I continue my apprenticeship learning at home?
Yes, this may be possible, depending on your apprenticeship and whether e-learning is available from your training provider. Please check their website or contact them to discuss your options.
3. My employer is enforcing a work from home policy and my classroom provision has been withdrawn. What are my options?
If you are unable to attend scheduled learning events, there are several options available to you:
- your training provider may provide digital or distance learning
- you can take a short pause if it is likely your apprenticeship can resume in less than 4 weeks, and you will still be able to complete your apprenticeship by the planned end-date
- you can take a formal break in learning of 4 weeks or more, which your training provider should report to the ESFA, and will result in the planned end-date of your apprenticeship being re-planned upon returning to learning, to take into consideration the duration of your break
Please talk to your employer and training provider to agree the appropriate steps for your circumstances.
4. My employer is asking me to take a period of unpaid leave, what happens to my apprenticeship during that time?
Where you are no longer able to work, but have not been made redundant, you can take a break from your apprenticeship and resume when you return to work. Please get in touch with your training provider who will inform us of a break in learning.
Once you are back at work, you can resume your apprenticeship, which your training provider can help with too. You should refer any queries around terms and conditions, including wages, to your employer in the first instance.
The ACAS website may also be a good source of information.
5. What happens to the apprentice during a period of unpaid leave in terms of monies. Do they have access to Universal Credit?
Universal Credit may be available for both workers and the unemployed alike, as long as they meet the other conditions of entitlement (including that the applicant and their partner have savings of under £16,000 between them). Apprentices may be entitled to access Universal Credit during a period of unpaid leave. They may also have access to Universal Credit even if they were working and being paid. Being laid off or on a lesser number of hours could increase the rate of Universal Credit entitlement.
Apprentices on unpaid leave may also be eligible for other benefits.
Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
6. How do I record progress towards my apprenticeship while I am subject to different working conditions like working from home?
You will already be recording your off-the-job training activity using an approach agreed with your training provider. Please continue to use this in the coming weeks. If your work circumstances change because of COVID-19, so that the minimum 20% off the job cannot be met, you will need to liaise with your employer or training provider to agree a break in learning.
7. My employer is laying me off/making me redundant. What happens to my apprenticeship?
Please speak to your training provider, if you are made redundant as your apprenticeship training may be able to continue.,Your training provider may still be able to offer training, based on your circumstances, in the short term. They may even be able to support you in finding a new employer.
8. If I can’t work/attend training, will I still be paid?
An apprenticeship is a job with training, so even when you are not able to do your training, you are still employed. You will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract.
Where you are unable to work, we suggest speaking to your employer about their polices on pay. The government is providing a range of support to employers to help them retain and pay the wages of employees (including apprentices) during the coming months.
Changes to assessment
This section covers all questions related to completion of the apprenticeship.
9. I am on a fixed-term contract, which would ordinarily have given enough time to complete the training and the end-point assessment. If the training is delayed, and I have not completed my EPA before I leave employment, can I do the end-point assessment afterwards?
You should be employed when you are taking your end-point assessment so, where a break in learning has been necessary, and the planned end-date for your apprenticeship has had to move back, please speak to your employer and training provider. We’d expect them to work with you to reschedule your training, which may also include reviewing your apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement. We will keep this under review as the situation evolves.
10. What will happen if I am not well enough to take my end-point assessment?
If you are unwell, or in a period of self-isolation, and unable to attend your end-point assessment, please contact your training provider as soon as you are able, to allow them maximum time to re-schedule your assessment.
This content first appeared here.