Guidance for Apprentices


We are all currently going through a turbulent time in our lives, with many people being furloughed. But, what does that mean for people doing apprenticeships?

The impact that COVID-19 has had on our daily lives can be seen everywhere you look. Whether it's queueing to go into the supermarket, not being able to see family and friends or being restricted going out of the house once a day for exercise. However, one thing that has been less clear is the impact that potential restrictions could have on people that are currently doing an apprenticeship.

There is no doubt that many businesses and providers of apprenticeships are going through a difficult time at the moment. For some, this has put them in a difficult position where they have had to put their apprentices and other employees on furlough or placed them on unpaid leave. In some cases, some businesses have had to make people redundant. It's natural if this has made you feel stressed or anxious, if it has, you can read some of our advice by clicking here.

Furloughed apprentices

If you've been furloughed it might feel a little bit strange, but you've probably found yourself in a pretty good position, even if it doesn't seem it at first. Under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, if you've been furloughed, you'll get 80% of your salary but you will be granted a leave of absence, so you won't have to work. Essentially, you're still being paid 80%, you're just not working.

If you're worried you're going to be bored, that's not necessarily the case! If you're furloughed, you can take part in volunteer work or training (such as apprenticeship training), as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of the employer. You may still be able to train while you're furloughed, which means you could work towards your apprenticeship qualification in a similar way to how you were before. The best things would be for you and your employer to talk to your training provider as soon as possible to see what you can do. If you do get to continue your apprenticeship, you'll find that rather than visiting your provider or them visiting you, you'll find your training might be online or over the phone or on a video call instead! If you are still training, you will be paid at least the minimum wage for the time you spend training while you're furloughed. This means employers will have to pay you additional wages to reach the national minimum wage or national apprenticeship minimum wage for those hours.

If you would like further guidance, click here to read the government guidance.

You can also get advice from ACAS.

Apprentices given unpaid leave

If you have been given unpaid leave, you can take a break in your apprenticeship and continue when you return to work. You or your employer will need to get in touch with your training provider to let them know you can't continue your apprenticeship so you can have a 'break in learning'. If you have been put on unpaid leave, you may be entitled to Universal Credit or other benefits. Find out what benefits you're entitled to by clicking here.

If you would like further guidance, click here to read the government guidance.

You can also get advice from ACAS.

Apprentices who have been made redundant

If you have been made redundant, the process that you'll go through will be slightly different. However, you will be supported by your apprenticeship provider throughout this period. It is currently the Government ambition, that you will be supported to find alternative employment and continue your apprenticeship as quickly as possible, and within 12 weeks. Get in touch with your training provider if you have been made redundant and you haven't heard from them yet.

If you would like further guidance, click here to read the government guidance.

You can also get advice from ACAS.

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This advice was last updated on Tuesday 7th April 2020, the advice may change as the situation develops. While we will do our best to update this information, for the most up-to-date information visit the Government guidance page .

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