To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many current apprentices are not able to complete their apprenticeship because there is no digital functional skills offering available; and what steps he is taking to ensure the availability of that qualification.
The department is committed to supporting apprentices, employers, and training providers to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Where Functional Skills assessments have been disrupted, we have been clear that providers, employers, and Awarding Organisations must work together in the best interests of apprentices. In addition to wider programme flexibilities, we have expanded the Examination Support Service to include apprenticeship training providers. They can now use this service to book COVID-19 secure exam space, and invigilators, and claim additional funding where this exceeds their normal delivery costs. The departmental guidance about providing apprenticeships during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro.
We continue to work closely with Ofqual, awarding organisations, and sector representatives to monitor the situation and agree how we can, together, identify and support apprentices that are unable to take their functional skills exam.