Bath College is committed to supporting our apprentices and employers to progress with their programmes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We are continuously investigating new and exciting way to ensure that apprentices are provided with a high quality learning experience during these challenging times.
This resource has been designed to support our apprentices and employers by providing detailed information on a range of circumstances which you may be facing related to your apprenticeship programme.
If you cannot find your answers here please send your questions to your assessor who will pass it on to our Apprenticeship team who will ensure that you query is answered
Bath College approach to supporting Apprentices during COVID-19
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way. This is designed, where possible to prevent a break in learning and avoid an apprenticeship programme needing to be resumed at a later date. This will allow apprentices to continue with their learning and complete as planned.
The Bath College approach to learning and assessment in the current situation is:
• Delivering training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable
• Using remote end-point assessment arrangements wherever practicable and possible
• Ensuring that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled.
• Providing extensions to the assessment timeframe if Gateway needs to be delayed
• Confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks
Please note we may update these details from time to time as we continue to be informed by the ESFA.
Frequently asked questions and further information
These questions and answers will be updated regularly in line with advice from central government, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE).
For queries not covered by this guidance, please contact email@example.com to speak with one of the Bath College Apprenticeships team or contact the National Apprenticeship Service helpline who can be contacted by telephone on 0800 150 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This section covers anything that affects how learning will be conducted and learning activity that will be carried out.
Changes to learning and employment
1. If I need to self-isolate, what will happen to my apprenticeship?
If you need to self-isolate, please talk to your employer and assessor about the best way to continue with your apprenticeship.
• an increase in online learning
• a short pause of less than 4 weeks in your apprenticeship while you are in self- isolation. This will not affect the planned end-date of your apprenticeship
• re-scheduling a planned end point assessment activity for a later date.
The appropriate steps will be agreed based on you and your employer/training provider’s situation.
2. I need to take care of myself/a family member. Can I continue my apprenticeship learning at home?
Yes, this will be possible using online learning and telephone/video conferencing support. Please contact your assessor for further information.
3. My employer is enforcing a work from home policy and my classroom provision has been withdrawn. What are my options?
• Bath College will provide digital or distance learning solutions in most cases.
• In unique cases, agreed with the college, you can take a short pause if it is likely your apprenticeship can resume in less than 4 weeks, and you will still be able to complete your apprenticeship by the planned end-date.
Please talk to your assessor to agree the right approach for you.
4. My employer is asking me to take a period of unpaid leave/furlough, what happens to my apprenticeship during that time?
Where you are no longer able to work, but have not been made redundant, you can continue with your apprenticeship and resume practical work when you return to work. Please get in touch with your assessor who will ensure that remote learning is in place. Once you are back at work, you can resume the practical elements of your apprenticeship.
You should refer any queries around terms and conditions, including wages, to your employer in the first instance. We would also ask employers to consider using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme before making apprentices redundant.
The ACAS website may also be a good source of information.
5. What happens to the apprentice during a period of unpaid leave in terms of monies. Do they have access to Universal Credit?
Universal Credit may be available for both workers and the unemployed alike, as long as they meet the other conditions of entitlement (including that the applicant and their partner have savings of under £16,000 between them). Apprentices may be entitled to access Universal Credit during a period of unpaid leave. They may also have access to Universal Credit even if they were working and being paid. Being laid off or on a lesser number of hours could increase the rate of Universal Credit entitlement.
Apprentices on unpaid leave may also be eligible for other benefits.
Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
6. How do I record progress towards my apprenticeship while I am subject to different working conditions like working from home?
You will already be recording your off-the-job training activity using an approach agreed with your assessor. Please continue to use this in the coming weeks. If your work circumstances change because of COVID-19, so that the minimum 20% off the job cannot be met in the workplace, you will need to liaise with your employer and assessor to agree other relevant distance learning that can be completed during normal working hours, that compliments your apprenticeship programme.
7. My employer is laying me off/making me redundant. What happens to my apprenticeship?
Please speak to your assessor who will report the situation to our Apprenticeships Manager. If you are made redundant, your apprenticeship training will still be able to continue. Your assessor will still be able to offer training, based on your circumstances, in the short term. The college will support you in finding a new employer as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks. All attempts will be made by the college to work with your current employer to look at all options to avoid any redundancy situation.
We would urge all employers to consider using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
8. If I can’t work/attend training, will I still be paid?
An apprenticeship is a job with training, so even when you are not able to do your training, you are still employed. You will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract.
Where you are unable to work, we suggest speaking to your employer about their polices 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.
9. Due to business continuity measures all staff are required to be available at their usual place of work. How can apprentices continue their learning?
If apprentices are unable to attend their scheduled learning events, there are several options available to you:
• Bath College will be providing apprentices with high quality digital or distance learning opportunities to continue with their training. This will continue to go towards their off the job hours and improve their overall skills. The apprentice will need to be provided with time to complete this work during their normal working week.
• they could be offered additional on-site mentor support and shadowing
• they could take a short pause in their learning of less than four weeks while still completing by their planned end-date
Please speak with your assessor to plan the best approach for your circumstances.
10. I am having to move staff into different and/or business critical roles that aren’t related to their apprenticeship. What happens to their apprenticeship?
It is our goal that apprentices can promptly resume their apprenticeship and continue to successful completion of end-point assessment. In these cases, the apprentice can continue to works towards their apprenticeship programme and distance learning will be provided to continue to deliver all knowledge and theory elements of the current programme. This will need to be monitored closely by their assessor so please keep in contact with them during this time.
If that move becomes permanent, you should look to see which alternative apprenticeship your apprentice can transfer to.
Please speak with your assessor if this situation is affecting you.
11. 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’s guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).
12. I am a non-levy paying employer recruiting for/having apprentices due to start. Can I still go ahead?
Yes. Please take guidance from the college as you would for an apprenticeship start in any other circumstances. We will need to enrol your apprentices remotely via skype/phone but a full information, advice and guidance session will still take place ensuring a successful and well planned start for your apprentices.
13. 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 3 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.
14. 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 service once they have consulted and agreed this with the college. 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. We are reviewing options to simplify the process of re-starting apprentices on the service, including to facilitate a transfer to a different apprenticeship or employer in due course.
Levy employers should contact your dedicated account manager for further details apprenticeship.
Changes to assessment
This section covers all questions related to completion of the apprenticeship.
15. I am on a fixed-term contract, which would ordinarily have given enough time to complete the training and the end-point assessment. If the training is delayed, and I have not completed my EPA before I leave employment, can I do the end-point assessment afterwards?
You should be employed when you are taking your end-point assessment so, where a where a programme has been delayed, and the planned end-date for your apprenticeship will be hindered, please speak to your employer and assessor to arrange how best to facilitate the EPA.
16. What will happen if I am not well enough to take my end-point assessment?
If you are unwell, or in a period of self-isolation, and unable to attend your end-point assessment, please contact your assessor as soon as you are able, to allow them maximum time to re-schedule your assessment.
17. Gateways are being delayed and we cannot complete the end-point assessment in the required time frame. Can we extend the EPA timeframe due to the current disruption?
Apprentices who are deemed ready for assessment, and cannot be assessed due to assessor illness, or Covid-19 related measures, are allowed to take a break before taking their EPA, and for the EPA to be rescheduled.
If the EPA timeframe needs to be extended beyond what is allowed in the assessment plan (where specified), EPAOs are responsible for agreeing extensions to EPA timeframes during the current disruption. EPAOs should work closely with EQAPs to ensure quality of EPA is maintained.
18. Where the end-point assessment plan states that assessment must be conducted face-to-face, but cannot be under the current circumstances, can we conduct these remotely?
Where an assessment method requires face to face engagement, this can be conducted remotely, subject to the following conditions:
• arrangements are cleared in advance by the EQA provider
• the apprentice’s identity is verified
• remote tests are supervised by an appropriately trained invigilator or assessor:
o who has the necessary qualifications, training or experience
o who has not been involved in the training, preparation or line management of the apprentice
• appropriate technology and systems are in place
• the impact that remote assessment may have on apprentices is to be taken into consideration, to ensure a fair and reliable assessment of occupational competence
• where alternatives are not appropriate, a pause and rescheduling might be the only action. An extension of 12 weeks is allowable for those Endpoint Assessment Plans (EPA) where a time limit is specified from gateway to EPA. It is to be logged on and shared with EQAPs on a timely basis.
19. How will invigilation of assessments be conducted remotely?
Remote tests should be supervised by an appropriately trained invigilator, or assessor who has the necessary qualifications, training or experience, and who has not been involved in the training, preparation or line management of the apprentice.
Tests must only be carried out within a supervised and controlled environment. EPAOs must ensure all testing meets security requirements, and that the details of invigilators are recorded and available for confirmation by EQAPs.
20. If the current situation continues for a long period of time, would you consider awarding the apprenticeship without the end-point assessment?
Unlike some other exams, the Government would not consider this to be appropriate at the current time.
21. Can the timeframe for completion be extended if the completion of EQA activity cannot take place?
EQA activity should be delivered remotely and continue within current guidelines. EQAPs should reschedule audits where this is appropriate.
22. We can deliver part of the end-point assessment, but some sections require direct observation. How do we deal with these components?
These elements of the EPA will need to be rescheduled if they cannot be undertaken remotely. If the EPA timeframe needs to be extended beyond what is allowed in the assessment plan, the EPAO should seek agreement from the EQAP. Where a specified assessment method for a specific standard might be adjusted, without threatening safety, and in a manner in which it meets the original intent, EPAOs should discuss this option with their EQAP, who may refer it to the Institute for authority.
The substitution of assessment methods is not considered appropriate at this time.
With the prior authority of their EQAP, assessments may be conducted in an appropriate simulated environment, such as a training facility.
There may be instances relating to some of the circumstances above where a break in learning may need to be considered. If you believe this to be the case, please discuss this with your assessor. This query will be passed on to the Apprenticeship Manager at Bath College for further investigation.
Other Useful Links
COVID-19: Guidance for employees, employers and businesses can be found using the link below
Detailed advice from ACAS for employers and employees related to COVID-19 is available here: