The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has responded to the coronavirus pandemic responding by taking steps to ensure that 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.
A new guidance sets out the support and some temporary flexibilities that ESFA are introducing to the programme during the pandemic, and provides answers to questions related to these changes and other common questions.
The support ESFA are providing includes:
- Introducing flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training 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 in order 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 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 ESFA’s ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks.
This guidance 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.
As the situation evolves, GRANTfinder will continue to report on any additional financial support measures as and when they are announced.