Apprenticeship programme response to Covid-19

Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
These are difficult times for employers, apprentices and providers of apprenticeship training and assessment. As part of the cross-government efforts to respond to the impact of COVID-19, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures for the duration of the pandemic, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible. High-quality apprenticeships will be a vital contributor to economic recovery. The government is committed to working with employers, training providers, EPAOs and external quality assurance (EQA) providers to mitigate the impacts of this disruption and maintain the integrity of apprenticeships.

Full, regularly updated guidance is available on the Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak page, key updates from the latest version include:

  • Information on the actions that training providers should take for the return of apprentices from September. Read more about it in the returning to workplace and educational settings section.
  • Information on how apprentices who have been made redundant, or who are at risk of redundancy, can access online and telephone support through the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices. Read more about it in the redundant apprentices section.
  • Confirmation of plans to restart routine funding audits from September 2020. Read more about it in the audit section.
  • Information on the new incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice. Read more about it in the apprenticeship programme response section.

In addition to the flexibilities developed to support existing apprentices, the ESFA is also keen to support the government’s Plan for Jobs which will help to kickstart the nation’s economic recovery. In recognition of the value apprentices can bring to our economy, an incentive payment will be made to employers who hire an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021. More information about the new incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice, the eligibility criteria, and how it can be claimed, can be found in the 2020 to 2021 apprenticeship funding rules.

Apprenticeship Funding
The updated 2020/21 funding policy document that sets the overarching policy for apprenticeship funding in England is now available to read and download.

Further Reading
The objective for these measures is to support all employers to retain their apprentices and to support apprenticeship training and assessment providers to continue to deliver services to apprentices where possible, so that they may progress and complete their apprenticeships as planned. Although apprentices are returning to the workplace and educational settings, this guidance still aims to help all parties through this period of transition.

Some of this guidance has been broken down into into articles for employers, training providers and end point assessment organisations (EPAOs), training providers and end point assessment organisations (EPAOs), as well as articles for apprentices. These can be found on the Apprenticeship Service Help page.

Read guidance from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) on the delivery of assessment.

The above guidance should be read alongside the government’s financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19), in particular the salary support for furloughed employees, which also applies to apprentices.

Last updated: 02 September 2020