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The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is making changes to all Apprenticeship provision during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we want to share with you so you are kept up-to-date as much as we are.

For your information, the detailed guidance changes are available at Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers – but we have summarised those we are think are most relevant below. The ESFA have advised us that this guidance will be kept under active review and updated regularly with further developments and we will update this page as this happens.

We hope that the frequently asked questions, and responses, are helpful to you. However, please do not hesitate to contact you’re the University with any queries not accounted for on this page.

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FAQs for employers

      Yes, providing that:

      1. Your apprentice will be working at least 30 hours per week and as part of this they have time available to undertake regular off-the-job training; and

      2. Your business does not pause or withhold funding.

      If the reduced hours are less than 30 per week, we will need more information on the circumstances. Please contact the Work-based and Professional Learning team at apprenticeships@warwick.ac.uk for further information and guidance.

      No, the apprentice must be paid at least the appropriate minimum wage. For instance, where training is undertaken by furloughed workers, at the request of their employer, workers are entitled to be paid at least the appropriate minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of a worker’s wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the furlough payment does not meet the appropriate minimum wage for the time spent training, employers will need to pay the additional wages.

      Furthermore, a break in learning can be processed providing that both you and your apprentice intend that the apprenticeship will continue once it is safe for normal working practices to resume. A break in learning pauses the apprenticeship and pauses funding payments. Once the apprenticeship resumes, the planned end date is extended by the duration of the break in learning. A fixed-term contract of employment would need to be extended if it does not cover the extended apprenticeship duration.

      It is important to note that a break in learning cannot be agreed for a period of less than 4 weeks. A period of less than 4 weeks is classed as disruption to study.

      Our first priority is to ensure the safety of our students and staff and our safety on campus information explains the Universities plan to reopen the campus but we are making provision for online teaching. Your dedicated Programmes Manager or Client Relationship Manager will provide further details as they become available.

      If you are not able to furlough your apprentice or instigate a break in learning and have to subsequently make them redundant, we as a training provider will provide guidance to the apprentice about seeking alternative employment.

      The ESFA currently grants apprentices 12 weeks to find alternative employment whilst continuing with their apprenticeship. We will work with the apprentice and exhaust our contacts to find the apprentice a new employer.

      Yes, the University is open for new apprenticeship starts – but please note most of the learning will be delivered online for the foreseeable future. We have plans in place to successfully support new apprenticeship intakes, and Warwick is open for business and is available to continue to meet the needs of our employer-partners.

      We are aware of the uncertainty brought about by school closures and changes to examination arrangements, which is likely to be especially challenging for this year’s A-level and BTEC candidates. The latest information we are working from is that A-level results will be released on August 13th, as originally planned. We continue to make conditional offers to those who have not yet been awarded their grades, and we will be treating all grades for school leavers in the same way as we have done for previous years.

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      FAQs for Apprentices

          Apprenticeships have been designed to be responsive to changes in apprentices’ circumstances, for example, during a period of illness.

          If you need to self-isolate, please talk to your line manager and your University Apprenticeship Tutor about the best way to continue with your apprenticeship.

          As long as you feel well enough then you can continue your apprenticeship through online learning, unless the University has decided to suspend your programme and has put all those apprentices on a break in learning.

          If you are too sick to continue with your learning, then other options could include:

          • A short pause of less than 4 weeks. This will not affect the planned end-date of your apprenticeship

          • A formal break in learning of 4 weeks or more. This will result in the planned end-date of your apprenticeship being rescheduled to recover the absent period.

          • Re-scheduling planned assessment activity for a later date.

          Yes, this will be possible. Please discuss this with your University Apprenticeship Tutor.

            The University is providing digital and distance learning alternatives to face-to-face teaching during this pandemic.

            We will actively work with you and your employer to enable you to progress with your apprenticeship.

            You will already be recording your off-the-job training activity using OneFile. Please continue to use this platform as you were before Covid-19.

            If your work circumstances change because of C-19, so that the learning delivery requirements can no longer be met, then we will discuss with you and your line manager if a break in learning is appropriate.

              Please speak to your University Apprenticeship Tutor and raise any concerns you have. Although we are not at liberty to follow the official redundancy procedures set out in the ESFA Funding Rules until such a redundancy is made official by your employer, we will still take note of your concern and do everything we can to support you and prepare for the unfortunate eventuality of you being made redundant.

              It is highly likely your apprenticeship training will be able to continue with delivery through our online platform should you be made redundant.

              Please be assured that, in the unfortunate event that you are made redundant, we will do our very best to support you in finding a new employer.

                An apprenticeship is a job with training, so even when you are unable to undertake your off-the-job training, you are still employed and therefore eligible to be paid by your employer. You will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract.

                Where you are unable to work (on-the-job training), you will need to speak to your employer about their policies on pay. The government is providing a range of financial support to employers to help them retain and pay the wages of their employees (including apprentices) during these unprecedented times. If your employer is not aware of the support available to them, this can be accessed via the government’s guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).

                  Please speak to your University Apprenticeship Tutor who will pick this up with your line manager.

                  We will work with you and your employer to reschedule the EPA. A fixed-term contract of employment would need to be extended if it does not cover the extended apprenticeship duration. Any revised dates and any other relevant changes will be reflected in your apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement.

                    A furloughed employee can undertake their off-the-job training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for or on behalf of the employer.

                      No, if you are on a break in learning then you must not undertake any off-the-job training until you return from that break.

                        No, if you are on a break in learning, you must not continue with your Functional Skills training and any access to the University’s local provider will be suspended until you return from that break.

                          In light of the current circumstances, our local functional skills training provider the University has cancelled all Functional Skills testing that was due to has furloughed their functional skills tutors. Therefore, this stream of training has been suspended.

                          Whilst training has been suspended, you will still be able to access the online learning resources and any webinar sessions made available to you by the provider.

                            If you are unable to take part in any online tutorials/alternative delivery you should continue to log any short term absences on your first day of absence in the way you normally would with your University Apprenticeship Tutor.

                              Tripartite Reviews to monitor progress and discuss development steps should continue to the usual schedule listed in your commitment statement during Covid-19, but instead of taking place as a face-to-face meeting, this may be conducted via telephone, Skype or Microsoft Teams.

                              Apprentices are encouraged to keep in regular contact with their University Apprenticeship Tutor during this time and to make their tutor aware of any concerns in relation to their apprenticeship or employment so they can be addressed. Where possible, your line manager should still attend your review meetings.

                              Please do not hesitate to contact your designated University Apprenticeship Tutor with any queries not accounted for in these FAQs.

                              If you are struggling to make contact with your University Apprenticeship Tutor, then please contact the Work-based and Professional Learning team at apprenticeships@warwick.ac.uk.