Apprentices: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the long-term viability of apprenticeship providers, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Training providers have in many cases developed effective online learning resources which enables them to retain their apprentices on programme so they can continue developing new skills, which will be vital for our economic recovery. At the same time training providers also have access to the comprehensive range of business support measures announced by HM Treasury. In addition, on 24 April 2020, the Education and Skills Funding Agency launched a Provider Relief Scheme which will put in place short term financial measures to support eligible training providers’ cash flow based on an assessment of need. This will enable us to retain capacity within the apprenticeships and adult education sector to deliver the skills we will need to support economic recovery post-outbreak. The relief scheme will also enable training providers who are eligible for support to maintain delivery to and support for existing apprentices, learners and employers whilst enabling new apprentices and learners to enrol as soon as it is safe to do so.

Additionally, to ensure that providers are able to continue to deliver quality apprenticeships and maintain their income throughout the disruption, we have made significant changes to some aspects of our funding rules, offering immediate solutions to the problems being faced.

Our latest guidance on working with apprentices in the current environment is set out below:

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and I will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

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