This is a difficult time for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by 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 coronavirus (COVID-19), and to support providers during this challenging time.
Version 6 of the guidance on the apprenticeship programme response to COVID-19 has been published and sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). It outlines the changes that the Education and Skills Funding Agency is making to the apprenticeship programme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak focusing on:
- Re-opening educational settings. From September, there will be no limits on apprentices, at any age, attending on-site delivery.
- Universal Credit for apprentices
- A future launch of a support service for redundant apprentices
- The Level 2 suspension of the rule on Functional Skills assessments extended until 31 December 2020
- Further FAQs covering apprentices starting with a new employer
With the introduction of urgent government measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and a rapidly developing situation, these guidelines reflect arrangements applied at the current time. This guidance will be kept under active review and updated regularly with further developments.
The government have also issued a 2020/21 funding policy document that sets the overarching policy for apprenticeship funding in England. This can be read here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/900154/Apprenticeship_funding_in_England_from_Aug_2020_Policy_Document_FINAL.pdf
This includes details on the incentive payments for hiring new apprentices; and increasing the number of reservations for non-levy employers.
It also reinforces that all new apprenticeship starts from 1 August will be on Standards.