THE Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has responded to the difficulties faced by employers of apprentices caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Wherever possible, apprentices will continue and complete their apprenticeships, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and the ESFA will support providers.
The support provided by the ESFA 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 four 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.
This information from the ESFA 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. Download the guidance document here.