The COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruption throughout our sector. The government has announced that any apprentice who has been furloughed from employment can continue their training if it doesn’t provide a service or generate revenue for their employer.

What is furlough?

Furlough is a form of absence granted by the government as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The leave is available to any UK business and is applicable to any staff member employed full-time on February 28th, 2020.

The government has agreed to pay up to 80% of wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month for those placed on furlough.

Furlough has been introduced as a way for businesses to maintain their workforce during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, to manage their cash flow and reduce the need for redundancies.

What about for apprentices?

HMRC guidance states: ‘Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst furloughed.’

No break of learning is required, meaning apprentices can work towards their expected completion date as planned – ideal for both the learner and training provider. Providers can also still claim funding for furloughed apprentices by providing evidence they are still supporting their learning and progression remotely.

What can apprentices do during furlough?

During the furlough, apprentices aren’t allowed to perform work duties that contribute to their employer’s revenue or service, but they can continue their studying.

This is the perfect time for apprentices to boost their 20% off the job learning as they have ample free time. With access to online assessments, resources and virtual classrooms where they can meet with their assessor, the learner can continue their apprenticeship as they would normally, just in a remote way.

Teaching, learning and assessing can continue through Smart Rooms where the session can be recorded and uploaded as evidence to use as part of their 20% off the job. By focusing on this when they can’t go to work when they return to employment the learner will be ahead of target for this part of their course.

For those apprentices unable to continue with employment during this time, providers best option is to furlough them. With the benefit of continual learning for the apprentice and funding for the training provider, it really is a no brainer.

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