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Advice for apprentices and apprentice employers

Last updated Monday 30 March. Please check back regularly for updates.

We understand that this is a worrying time for everyone, including apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. We are committed to supporting apprentices and employers to continue building the skills and capabilities the country needs now and in future.

Below you will find FAQs for both apprentices and apprentice employers to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

You can also get in touch with us and access help via:

Frequently asked questions for apprentices

What is a break in learning?

A break in learning is where apprenticeship learning is disrupted.

If learning is disrupted for a period of less than four weeks then there is no change to the payment of funding or the apprenticeship end date. If learning is disrupted for a period longer than four weeks, a break in learning must be reported for  the apprentice, at which point the payment of funding to the training provider will be suspended for the duration of that break.  A break in learning will result in the planned end date for your apprenticeship being re-scheduled, upon your return to learning, to take into account the duration of your break

If I need to self-isolate, what will happen to my apprenticeship?

If you need to self-isolate, please talk to your employer and the Apprenticeships team at NTU about the best way to continue with your apprenticeship, or report a break in learning. Your options include:

  • accessing NTU's online learning
  • a short pause of less than four weeks in your apprenticeship whilst you are in self-isolation
  • a formal break in learning of four weeks or more
  • re-scheduling planned assessment activity for a later date.

Any appropriate steps will be agreed based on you and your employer's situation.

I need to take care of myself/ a family member. Can I continue my apprenticeship learning at home?

NTU are providing online learning for the majority of its apprenticeships. Your course leader will be in contact if there are different arrangements for the delivery of your apprenticeship. Please contact the Apprenticeships team on the number above to discuss your options.

My employer is enforcing a work from home policy and my classroom-based provision has been withdrawn. What are my options?

If you are able to continue with your job role whilst working from home, and access the online learning that the University is offering for the majority of its apprenticeships, then your apprenticeship can continue. Your course leader will be in contact if there are different arrangements for the delivery of your apprenticeship.

Otherwise, your options are:

  • a short pause if it is likely that your apprenticeship can resume in less than four weeks, and you will still be able to complete your apprenticeship by the planned end date.
  • a formal break in learning of four weeks or more, which will result in the planned end date of your apprenticeship being re-scheduled upon returning to learning.

Please contact your employer and the NTU Apprenticeships team to agree the appropriate steps for your circumstances.

My employer is asking me to take a period of unpaid leave. What happens to my apprenticeship during this time?

Please contact the NTU Apprenticeships team to discuss your individual circumstances. You should refer any queries around terms and conditions, including wages, to your employer in the first instance. The ACAS website is also a good source of information.

What happens to me financially during a period of unpaid leave? Do I have access to Universal Credit?

Universal Credit may be available as long you meet the other conditions of the entitlement (including that the applicant and their partner have savings of under £16,000 between them). Apprentices may be entitled to Universal Credit under the following circumstances:

  • During a period of unpaid leave
  • Even if working and being paid
  • If laid off or on a lesser number of hours.

Apprentices on unpaid leave may also be eligible for other benefits.

How do I record progress towards my apprenticeship whilst I am subject to different working conditions, such as working from home?

Please continue to record your off-the-job training activity using PebblePad. If your work circumstances change because of COVID-19, so that the minimum 20% off-the-job training cannot be met, you will need to liaise with your employer and the NTU Apprenticeships team to discuss your options.

My employer is laying me off/ making me redundant. What happens to my apprenticeship?

Please speak to the NTU Apprenticeships team if you are at risk of redundancy or made redundant as your apprenticeship training may be able to continue, depending on your circumstances.

  • Apprentices who are made redundant within six months of the final day of their practical period may continue their apprenticeship training without being employed under an apprenticeship agreement.
  • Apprentices who are made redundant more than six months before their final day may continue their apprenticeship training for 12 weeks without being employed under an apprenticeship agreement.

We will endeavour to find you alternative employment where possible in order for you to continue with your apprenticeship.

If I can't work/ attend training, will I still be paid?

As an apprenticeship is a job with training, you are still employed. You will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract.

Where you are able to work, we suggest speaking to your employer about their policies on pay. The government is providing a range of support to employers to help them retain and pay the wages of employees (including apprentices) during the coming months.

Due to business continuity measures, all staff are required to be available at their usual place of work. How can I continue my learning?

NTU is providing online learning for the majority of our apprenticeships to allow apprentices to engage in learning at a convenient time within their agreed work hours. Your course leader will be in contact if there are different arrangements for the delivery of your apprenticeship.

If you are struggling to engage in learning, your options are:

  • you could take a short pause in your learning of less than four weeks and still complete by your planned end date, or
  • you could take a formal break in learning of four weeks or more, with a recalculated planned end date upon your return to learning.

My employer has moved me into a different and/ or business-critical role that isn't related to my apprenticeship. What happens to my apprenticeship?

Please talk to you employer and the NTU Apprenticeships team to agree the appropriate steps for your circumstances. If your job move becomes permanent, please contact the NTU Apprenticeships team to discuss your apprenticeship options.

Will tri-partite review meetings still go ahead?

Tri-partite review meetings are already delivered via a mixture of face-to-face and virtual means. During this time your tri-partite review meetings will be held virtually. Your NTU workplace tutor will be in contact to book your review meeting.

I am on a fixed-term contract, which would ordinarily have given enough time to complete the training and the End-Point Assessment (EPA). If the training is delayed, and I have not completed my EPA before I leave employment, can I do the EPA afterwards?

You should be employed when you are taking your EPA so, where a break in learning has been necessary, and the planned end date for your apprenticeship has had to move back, please speak to your employer and the NTU Apprenticeships team.

What happens to my End-Point Assessment (EPA)?

If you are due to complete your apprenticeship within the next six months, the NTU Apprenticeships team will be in contact with you to discuss the arrangements for your end-point assessment.

Frequently asked questions for apprentice employers

What do I do if I think an apprentice is not well enough to work (especially in a health setting)?

Employers should follow the government guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).

I am a non-levy paying organisation recruiting for/ having apprentices due to start. Can I still go ahead and reserve funds on the system?

Employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy are able to reserve apprenticeship funding through the apprenticeship service in line with the published guidance.

What happens to my funding reservation as a non-levy employer, if my apprentice can't start?

Reservations will expire if they are not turned into a commitment within three months of the apprenticeship start date, detailed in the reservation. Where a commitment is needed, and a previous reservation has expired, a new reservation must first be made.

Should employers use the 'Stop' or 'Pause' apprentice facility in the apprenticeship service?

In circumstances related to COVID-19, employers should use the 'Pause' function in the Apprenticeship Service. Employers must only use the 'Stop' function when they are certain that training will not resume at any point. Using 'Pause' will stop payments temporarily and allow the employer and apprentice to resume the apprenticeship at a later date.

Who can request a break in learning?

Funding rules currently state that a break in learning must be initiated by the apprentice. Employers and training providers can now, temporarily, also report and initiate a break in learning where the interruption to learning is greater than four weeks.

Advice for apprentices and apprentice employers

Published on 30 March 2020

Still need help?

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