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30 March 2020

Apprenticeships – Response to Coronavirus

Both CITB and Government have set out the measures which they have put in place to support employers to maintain their apprenticeships in the light of coronavirus (COVID-19):

CITB

  • CITB is paying apprenticeship attendance grants in advance, for second and third-year apprentices already subject to CITB grant support for the remainder of the year. These payments began on Monday 6 April and are expected to support 7,500 apprentices and provide an advance of up to £2,500 in attendance grants, per apprentice. Employers can apply for the grant on the CITB website.
  • CITB has extended the advanced apprenticeship grant payment to include higher level apprentices in the final year of their programme close to completion in England and Wales, or at a key level in Scotland. This is to maximise the opportunity for these learners to qualify and add value to industry. Employers can apply for the grant on the CITB website.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and CITB have worked together to discuss funding rules on breaks in learning for apprentices and the ESFA has issued guidance for apprentices, employers and training providers. Further information can be found in the article Apprenticeship Levy – Response to Coronavirus.

  • CITB has helped its apprentices return home from National Construction Colleges, with every CITB apprentice being contacted by their Apprenticeship Officer. Online learning tools, including functional skills videos, have been developed to support apprentices with their studies from home. These videos are available to all apprentices, not just those undertaking their studies with CITB.

Further information on how to register and access the videos can be found on the CITB website.

  • CITB is urging all employers to contact its helpline before dismissing any apprentices and if you have any questions, please contact the helpline via email.

Government

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is taking steps to ensure that where possible apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeships, and  providers have the support they need in this challenging time. This includes:

  • Confirming that apprentices ready for assessment, but that cannot be assessed due to Covid-19 issues, can have the assessment rearranged
  • Allowing modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments where possible
  • Providing apprentices whose gateway is delayed with an extension to the assessment timeframe
  • Enabling employers and assessment providers to report and initiate a break in learning where the interruption is greater than 4 weeks
  • Confirming how to report breaks in learning, so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • Confirming that for apprentices made redundant, ESFAwill support them to find alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship within 12 weeks
  • Encouraging training providers to deliver training remotely and via e-learning as far as practicable.

Details on how to access the support outlined above can be found on the Government website or by emailing the Government’s dedicated helpline.

The ESFA has also published a video showing employers how to use pause & stop in the apprenticeship service to record a break in learning.  The video also explains to training providers how to record breaks in learning through the Individualised Learner Record (ILR).