Companies urged to back apprentices to keep on ‘learning’ through the Coronavirus crisis

In-Comm Training has been working closely with the Department for Education (DfE) on how companies should support apprentices that they have furloughed.

All the guidance we have received so far is that the learner should, where possible, continue their course at home and this will not affect the employer’s claim for the 80% contribution towards the wage of your apprentice(s).

We have tried to make the ‘virtual learning’ experience as painless as possible and have started to deliver training via Google Classrooms and Microsoft Teams.

The initial reaction has been positive and we feel it is important for learners to still keep that face-to-face contact via video links, as it can be the difference between understanding content, being able to ask questions and, in some ways, keeping up morale and mental health.

“The increase in apprentices has been one of the key drivers in starting to bridge the skills gap in UK industry and our companies will need the engineers of the future when this pandemic starts to recede,” explained Bekki Phillips.

“A lot of our clients were asking us about the process behind furloughing their learners and I’m pleased to say that apprentices can continue their learning with us (through virtual platforms) and employers can still claim 80% of their wage from the Government.”

She continued: “A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to/or generate revenue for your organisation.

“The only thing to remember is that if apprentices and employees complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage or their full apprenticeship wage for the time spent training – even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.”

In-Comm Training recognises the impact Covid-19 is having on mental health and we will be enhancing our pastoral case, releasing information sheets and activity videos to support our learners.