Advice for apprentices
As an apprentice, you may be concerned about how the coronavirus pandemic impacts on your health and future career.
To protect everyone, all face-to-face education and training has been suspended. However there has been a partial reopening of Further Education (FE) colleges and work-based-learning providers to support the delivery of vocational qualifications this summer.
The Department for the Economy (DfE) is working closely with training contractors to develop the support measures needed for apprenticeships to continue.
Your training contractor will advice you how you can continue your learning. If you need to contact them, you can find them at:
If you have an urgent query and are unable to contact your training contractor, email Apprenticeships@economy-ni.gov.uk.
Qualifications and Examinations
DfE have commissioned CCEA Regulation to work closely with the awarding organisations and other regulators to make sure, where possible, that learners taking vocational qualifications are not disadvantaged by the suspension of scheduled exams/ assessments.
As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, all face-to-face apprenticeship training has been suspended.
In the meantime, your training contractor/ Further Education college/ university will, where possible, continue training in a different way, including facilitation of online learning, learning portfolio building work and rescheduling planned assessment activity for a later date.
If you have been furloughed, under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you can still continue your training.
However, any continuation of ApprenticeshipsNI and Higher Level Apprenticeship directed training during the furlough period, must be with the agreement of your training contractor/ Further Education college/ university and employer, taking into consideration HMRC advice on pay.
Normal apprenticeship training will be reinstated in line with government guidelines.
Interruption to employment
You may, as an apprentice, have been furloughed under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme aims to keep you on the payroll and avoid redundancy and laying off without pay.
If your employer asks you to go on furlough and you refuse you may be at risk of redundancy or termination of employment, depending on the circumstances of your employer. However, this must be in line with normal redundancy rules and protections.
Support for apprentices made redundant
If you were made redundant, or stopped working on or after 28 February 2020, you can be re-employed and put on furlough (temporary leave of absence). You should discuss this option with your employer.
If you are made redundant your training contractor must remove you from the apprenticeship programme. You can be rejoined at the earliest possible opportunity.
Advice and support if you have been made redundant is available:
If you’re aged 16-17 and are an apprentice who has been made redundant, you may be able to continue the knowledge-based qualification with your training contractor as part of the Training for Success Programme (TFS). This should be discussed with your training contractor.
Looking for another job
Support is available to apprentices who are made redundant, including help to source another employer to continue your apprenticeship or alternative employment within a different sector/ career path.
The Careers Service can help you in match your skills and experience to those opportunities currently in demand.
Rejoining the apprenticeship programme
If you were already on the programme and left as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) redundancy, you can rejoin to complete the rest of your apprenticeship once an employer has committed to your apprenticeship.
You and your employer must speak to a training contractor to arrange your rejoin and your ‘off-the-job’ training. Further information is available at:
Financial support and benefits
If you are made redundant, you may be eligible for financial support during the COVID-19 outbreak. Further information is available at:
Further help and guidance about the apprenticeship programme, contact DfE Apprenticeship Delivery and Performance Branch at:
- Higherlevelapprenticeships@economy-ni.gov.uk for higher level apprenticeship queries