Apprenticeships at risk from pandemic

Three-fifths of employers have stopped all new apprenticeship starts since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to research.

The survey also found a third of apprentices had a less than one in five chance of completing their programmes or end point assessment in the expected timescale. Two-thirds of apprentices had less than a 60% chance of completing.

The research highlighted that provider cash flow was being reduced at both ends of the apprenticeship pipeline, with providers only receiving funding from the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency when an apprentice starts. Additionally, 20% of the total funding depends on the apprenticeship’s completion, which could put providers that are unable to deliver training as a result of the lockdown in financial difficulty.

In March, the DfE issued guidance for private apprenticeship providers which made it easier for both trainers and apprentices to initiate breaks of a month or more to help maintain social distancing rules. But the rules stipulated that providers would only be paid “retrospectively for the training they have delivered and can evidence”, meaning many private providers were not eligible for financial support.

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