Apprenticeship flexibilities extended until end of August

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 confirming a new national lockdown, training providers, employers and EPAOs must ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely wherever possible.

Face-to-face training and assessment can continue in colleges and training providers’ premises for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers who need it.

Face-to-face training and assessment can also continue in employers’ covid-secure settings where it is essential for workers to attend their workplace, and where it is safe and practical to do so.

End-point assessment (EPA) and Functional Skills (FSQ) assessments can continue in colleges, training providers’ premises, assessment venues and workplaces where it cannot be conducted remotely and where providers and end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) judge it right to do so.

General information

As part of the cross-government efforts to respond to the impact of coronavirus (COVID19), the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has implemented measures to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way, or to take a break in learning and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) is further extending apprenticeship flexibilities until at least the end of August.

The Institute is prolonging special measures allowing for the completion of apprenticeships through the pandemic.

It will mean that no flexibilities will be withdrawn before the end of August.

The Institute has acted fast to reassure the sector, in view of latest escalations with the spread of COVID-19 over the festive period and important tougher restrictions on movement and interaction.

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of the Institute, said:

“We are all too aware that the escalation of COVID-19 and resulting lockdown restrictions are hugely distressing for our sector and beyond.
“I am determined that the Institute will continue to do all we can to support employers and providers. It is also hugely important that we do all we can to help apprentices continue their training and complete wherever possible.
“There are now flexibilities in place for over 130 apprenticeships and it would be wrong to disrupt them at this time. That is why we have made the decision extend.”

The flexibilities have been rolled out for apprenticeships to ensure learners are still able to complete their studies. In most cases they allow for high quality remote rather than face-to-face assessment.

We previously announced in November that these special measures, agreed with employer and training groups for different apprenticeship sectors, would be retained until the end of March 2021.

The Institute will now not consider the withdrawal of any flexibilities before May 1 and will provide at least three-months-notice of any decision to terminate. The earliest flexibilities could actually be withdrawn is the end of August.

Jennifer added: “As we’ve said before, our aim with the extension of these special measures is to provide everyone involved with much-needed stability. We continue to be open to requests to new or revised flexibilities and are monitoring closely the overall performance of standards to identify where new flexibilities might be required.”

Further guidance:

  • The Institute will continue to monitor the performance of our flexibilities to ensure that they are having the desired impact, including maintaining quality.

  • We will review whether any further extensions are required on a monthly basis from 1 May and provide notification of any decision to change.

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