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info_outline Classroom courses and CBEs are running from our centres and will gradually return to full capacity with additional measures to minimise the spread of the virus. See our COVID pages for details.

Coronavirus advice ›

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Advice for employers with apprentices

The Government has issued several updated to its Apprenticeship guidance launch. The latest version supports the approach we have been taking so far - to keep apprentices engaged, but providing flexible learning support, and remote solutions wherever possible.

Find out more:

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The Institutes have issued guidance regarding the running of exams which have been summarised for you on our update page. We've outlined how Kaplan are responding to the changes to help keep students in learning.

Last updated: 27th May, 2020

Keep apprentices engaged during Covid 19

If you'd like to know more or have questions about furloughing and the continuation of learning, we recently hosted a webinar for clients which you can watch for FREE using the link below.

Jenny Pelling, Apprenticeship Partnerships Director at Kaplan, answers questions that employers have been asking around furloughing and breaks in learning; what this means for apprentices and how we can keep all apprentices engaged at this critical time.

We have also produced this useful one-page summary document launch of key learning and development areas apprentices can undertake whilst on furlough.

Watch now

From this guidance, we would like to draw your attention to the following areas:

Can learners continue on apprenticeship?
What happens for an apprentice being furloughed? Can they continue training?
What is the position for apprentices needing a Break in Learning?
What impact do the exam cancellations, particularly the EPA, have on an apprenticeship?
Is Kaplan accepting new apprentices?
What happens to apprentices who are being made redundant?

"Can learners continue on an apprenticeship?"
Apprentices can continue via online study methods. Apprentices do not need to attend a physical training centre or to have physical contact with colleagues in order to continue. So those working from home for example, can continue with their Apprenticeship as long as they can access our learning and apply their learning in their home-working environment.

If an apprentice is unable to do any learning ('on' or 'off the job') for four consecutive weeks or longer, we can arrange for them to have a break in learning. Please talk to your Account Manager or Talent Coach about this.

If you absolutely have to put a learner on a break, please allow us to do this for you as we would pause their funding rather than stop it on the Levy system. The government issued guidance that if you press 'stop' instead of 'pause' it will be very difficult to restart the apprenticeship once the apprentice is no longer on a Break in Learning.

"What happens for an apprentice being furloughed? Can they continue training?"
Yes an apprentice can continue studying whilst furloughed, as they are still being paid (by the Gov.) and are still employed.

We have built some microsites of content for any furloughed apprentice to assist with their Skills and Behaviour developments. It's bite-sized; engaging; and varied, with points of stretch and challenge and points of reflection. The content we've chosen is relevant to the standards and current times. Your apprentice's Talent Coach can provide access to the new microsites.

Of course, we also have on-line learning for the technical qualifications, so apprentices are very well supported whilst furloughed.

This is subject to some caveats below which are designed to ensure that training is not used as a cover for working.

The government updated its advice launch on 27 March 2020 to specify that undertaking training, whilst furloughed, is permitted:

"A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation. However, if workers are required to for example, complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least their appropriate minimum wage (NLW, NMW or AMW) for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised."

This supports Kaplan’s recommendation that apprentices keep studying wherever possible whilst furloughed, rather than go on a Break in Learning. This is also the view recommended by the Association of Employer and Learning Providers, who have stated that apprentices should continue with their studies, whilst not working.

However, if the apprentice can not do any study or skills and behaviour development relevant to their apprenticeship standard for more than four consecutive weeks, then they may need to go on a Break in Learning from their apprenticeship. This should be for a four week period and then reviewed.

If your apprentice is being furloughed, please let us know asap and ask your apprentice to contact their Talent Coach with their personal email address and to continue to keep their training log up to date even whilst furloughed. This time is an excellent opportunity for them to progress and make headway with their studies and development.

If you have an Account Manager at Kaplan please let them know.

We will place this information on the apprentice's records and make an extra effort to encourage them to continue with their studies.

"What is the position for apprentices needing a Break in Learning?"
If the apprentice cannot do any studying for more than four consecutive weeks, we should put them on a 'Break in Learning'. This is a process which Kaplan will do for you.

The steps are:

  • You notify us in writing via your Talent Coach or Account Manager that you wish an apprentice to have a Break in Learning.
  • The Talent Coach will complete a Break in Learning agreement and a return to learning date, in principle, should be agreed upon.
  • If the apprenticeship is funded via The Apprenticeship Service, please only pause the funding. We ask you not to stop it, as this will cause complications when the Break in Learning is lifted.

"What impact do the exam cancellations, particularly the EPA, have on an apprenticeship?"
With regard to exams and assessments (including Functional Skills and End Point Assessments), we are working with awarding bodies to find alternative/remote solutions that will enable apprentices to undertake assessment without breaching contact restrictions. There may be some delays as these methods are established, but we are confident that everyone will be able to complete.

"Is Kaplan accepting new apprentices?"
Kaplan is open for new Apprenticeship starts - but please note learning will be online for the foreseeable future. Please submit an enrolment form in the normal way for any new starts.

"What happens to apprentices who are being made redundant?"
If you are not furloughing your apprentice, nor providing a break in learning and have to make them redundant, we will provide guidance to the apprentice about seeking alternative employment.

If your apprentice has less than 6 months until End Point Assessment, they can complete their apprenticeship even if they are no longer working.

If your apprentice has more than 6 months until End Point Assessment, we have 12 weeks to help find them alternative employment, during which time they can continue with their apprenticeship. If they are not in a new apprenticeship role, or job which permits them to continue the apprenticeship, after 12 weeks, we have to withdraw them from the programme. They could restart at a later date.

Please note the Government is reviewing this position, and if any updates are made to the Guidance, we will post the new information here on our client site.

We provide the same information and further guidance to our apprentices.

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