FAQs for Employers -Updated 20/05/20

Updated guidance from ESFA – 20/05/20

Unfortunately I am having to lay off my apprentice due to COVID19, Could you let me know the details on how to go about this, and any impacts on them potentially completing their apprenticeship? Would I also have to repay the incentive we have recieved?

We would advise the employer to get in touch with their personal contact from the BD team which will be referred for accurate next steps. Although generally speaking, If a learner is being laid off or made redundant they have 30 days to find a new employer before their apprenticeship is invalid, however if they have less than 6 months left on their apprenticeship they have the option to complete this through college. Each incentive payment would have to be assessed on an individual basis, although usually if you have been paid the incentive you would not need to re-pay the incentive, If you are due an incentive there is a chance you may no longer be eligible to receive the grant

Do you have any additional online resources we could use to set our current staff & apprentice’s learning homework throughout the lockdown?

There are a number of online resources available for all employers to use with current staff & apprentices. One of these being the new Skills Toolkit, which was launched by the UK Government to assist in the improvement of Digital and Numeracy skills.

A link to the online platform can be found here -> https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/

My apprentice is studying Business administration at the moment and is due for End point assessment (EPA) very soon, do you know if this will go ahead, or will the assessment be delayed?

A number of apprenticeship qualifications have been accepted for online assessment, meaning the EPA should go ahead as planned (although not in all cases). This will be arranged by College when the learner is ready for EPA as usual and planned by the EPAO. A full list of qualifications available for online assessment can be found following this link – https://feweek.co.uk/2020/04/24/revealed-government-list-of-apprenticeships-given-green-light-for-online-assessment/

I have a learner who is currently studying functional skills alongside their apprenticeship, how do you plan on testing them and confirming grades prior to the completion of the apprenticeship?

Following government guidelines, our departments will be able to calculate the learners estimated grade. This calculation will be drawn from a range of evidence, including tutor judgements of the learner, learning evidence, students previous grades, grades from completed assessments etc.

More information on functional skills, and the awarding of qualifications can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/awarding-vocational-and-technical-qualifications-this-summer

I’m in the position where my business is going to furlough an apprentice.  What are the financial points I need to consider?

Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst furloughed.  However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.

What do you do with a new apprentice that doesn’t qualify for furlough but all staff are being furloughed? Do they have to take a break in learning instead?

Barnsley college would need to review each and every individual case separately to provide the best support possible.

Examples of similar situations include:

Learners put on a break in learning. Taking the learner back to start date with them re-starting upon the re-opening of the employer (Within 6 weeks). The learner continuing to complete college work where and when possible, then continuing work based learning when the employer re-opens.

Please could you send across a guide on how apprentices access the online learning resources?

Apprentices will be able to access remote learning through the OneFile/Microsoft Teams platforms. This will include both the practical and theory elements of the apprenticeship. All students will still receive regular tasks from their trainer via their OneFile account. They will still need to log their off-the-job hours and submit work which will be marked remotely.

Will it be clear, once they are logged in, what their assignments are?

Yes, each apprentice will have access to specific work-based assignments that are accessed via the “assignments tab”

How does the College closure impact on academic apprenticeships? Obviously they are not attending College and I’m aware of the on-line teaching they have to do but they can’t do any practical work.

The online teaching will cover all aspects of the apprenticeship, although you must ensure the apprentice is completing the required 20% off the job learning. The trainer is available to support employers and their apprentice through this process. You can contact them via OneFile/Microsoft Teams message, email and mobile. Engagement in learning will be facilitated by the trainer during this period.

Are they expected to do the learning during their time at work?

We would recommend employers allocate times to apprentices to complete their College work. For apprentices completing a day-release programme it may be easier to maintain structure by allocating this working time to the same day.

What salary am I required to pay the apprentice if the business closes until further notice?

Please follow government guidelines on wages.


How are Barnsley College providing functional skills training remotely?

Functional skills training will continue via on-line learning on the normal planned day and time. Apprentices will also be introduced to a software called “Century Tech” where they can study independently around their own individual requirements. They should speak to their trainer for details.

I have an apprentice who is due to finish soon (June). Please could you provide some detail on how delivery is continuing for these apprentices, and what impact will that have on their end date?

The apprentice will continue with their 20% off the job training as normal but this will be delivered via on-line learning. Reviews will continue with you, the apprentice and trainer as normal but will be conducted remotely. Taking all this into account there should be no impact on the apprentice’s end date.

Have you had any reassurances from awarding bodies regarding End Point Assessment’s (EPAs) and assessments?

Each EPAO is working, where possible, to offer a digital approach. Please discuss with your trainer the options for your apprentice.

Can employers request OneFile logins to track and review their apprentices progress?

Yes, the department can set this up for them – requests can be made through their business development officer or trainer.

Are Barnsley College planning on delaying new apprenticeship starts, or will they go ahead as planned?

Barnsley College now have a remote sign up process to ensure that we can enrol apprentices and continue with the apprenticeship as planned.   The documents will be sent from the trainer.  If you require extra support throughout this process please contact the Business Development Team.

Does the College offer short online based learning or qualifications in Microsoft skills?

Currently Barnsley College can offer:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
  • Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) (Exam).

Employees would be expected to work through the workbooks and practice files, completing various packages until they are eligible to sit the Registered Microsoft Exam.  This exam will be conducted in college upon re-opening.

Each course has a cost – Please get in touch with the Business Development team for further information.

For further information, or if you have a question you would like to put forward to the college please get in touch with the Business Development team:



Last updated: 20th May 2020

Originally posted on: 29th April 2020