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What does Covid-19 mean for apprentices?

12 May 2020

A woman sitting on the floor with a laptop on her lap

James Hammill from BPP shares some key takeaways from his recent ISE webinar What does Covid-19 mean for apprentices.
 
I recently got together with colleagues Cassandra MacDonald, Senior Business Efficiency Consultant, and Nikki Williams, our Head of Quality, for an ISE webinar on apprenticeships. We explored the impact Covid-19 is having on apprentices, the approaches taken by employers and how we can support leaners.
 
Here are some of the key takeaways:
 
  • Employers are actively supporting apprentices
The webinar touched on employers using furlough and how apprentices are continuing with their studies. We found that a number of employers with furloughed staff are using this opportunity to bring forward some of their studies to allow them to complete elements of the programme in advance.  This is in anticipation of them being very busy when they do return to work.
 
Other employers with staff who are finding themselves stretched have worked with BPP to rephase the study plan, so they can focus on work right now and take the programme assessments at a later date.  
  • Professional bodies and end point assessment organisations have responded to the crisis

Professional bodies and end point assessment organisations have responded to the challenges and uncertainties of the current climate with a number of activities and initiatives. These include moving to invigilated online exams, providing flexibility over the production of portfolio evidence, waiving cancellation fees, reviewing the composition of the panel for interviews and enabling more assessment to be conducted remotely.

  • Employers are keeping learners engaged
We heard lots of best practice currently being undertaken by employers and providers to keep learners engaged throughout this period. This included amending the study timetable to either bring forward or push back certain aspects of an apprentice’s programme and using the unique circumstances that Covid-19 has presented us with to stretch and challenge learners.
 
As learners build their professional portfolios throughout their programmes they are encouraged to reflect on how they have reacted in their role to the challenges posed by the crisis and what they are learning. Employers are also encouraging peer-to-peer learning and support sessions as well as considering the amount of pastoral support learners may require.
  • Government continues to support apprentices

We discussed how the government is responding to Covid-19 to support apprentices.  This includes changes around funding rules from the ESFA and changes to Gateway requirements for apprentices.  We also explored the flexibilities that have been published from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and functional skills calculated grades.

  • You can contribute to government plans

You can learn about how you can contribute to the governments plans to change how apprenticeship programmes are priced and the potential impact this could have on supply and quality of delivery through the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education consultation

Watch the ISE Webinar What does covid-19 mean for apprentices