Measures announced to safeguard apprentices26 March 2020

Apprentices should be able to continue and complete their apprenticeship programmes, according to the Education and Skills Funding Agency, which has announced measures to combat the challenges faced during the Covid-19 outbreak.

ESFA has published guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations (see link below).

The organisation has confirmed that it is urging training providers to deliver remote training, via e-learning, where practical. End-point assessments can also be carried out remotely, and can be rescheduled if the apprentices cannot be assessed for reasons due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Its guidance also includes advice for employers on recording breaks in learning to ensure minimal disruption to funding and, ultimately, ESFA is committing to find alternative employment for apprentices within 12 weeks if they are made redundant.

The Institute for Apprenticeships has also announced a temporary provision for extending an apprenticeship as a result of restrictions due to Covid-19.

In a statement, it said: “Every effort should continue to be made to ensure that apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship, and be assessed in accordance with current EPA (end-point assessment) plan and EQA (external quality assurance) requirements if possible.

“Where this is not possible, providers should first consider whether it is appropriate to extend the apprenticeship in order to reschedule the EPA.

“The purpose of this direction is to specify measures that permit professional discretion so that individuals are protected and disruption is minimised, while safeguarding the quality and integrity of apprenticeships in circumstances where there is not a good reason for extending an apprenticeship.”

The institute is also urging training providers and end-point assessment organisations to communicate frequently and ensure the apprentice is well informed.

Laura Cork

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